Apartments in Selah won't be torn down, city fears the building could collapse
SELAH, Wash.- A Selah apartment complex will stay put for another three months after Yakima County Judge McCarthy ruled to give the owner of those apartments Steve Owens a three month extension to make repairs.
It's a decision the City of Selah supports, but argues the owner's structural engineer has not submitted a set plan on how they will tackle fixing the roof repairs, rotted floors, electrical violations, plumbing, mold, and more.
The Selah attorney Robert Noe claims the owner's main focus right now is collecting rent money instead of looking out for the tenants safety.
"They should be living in a place like this is essentially what they are saying. This is all they can afford.They should be allowed to live here. Nobody regardless of their financial means should have to suffer those conditions," said Noe.
The defense attorney Sean Worley argues they have submitted a plan, and can make the repairs one unit at a time instead of demolishing the complex and leaving those tenets without a home.
"There's way to adapt the plan so that we don't have to relocate these tenants that live in low-income housing and who knows where they will go," said Worley.
The prosecution claiming the repairs that need to be done cannot be fixed with the renters living in the home, and says if major repairs aren't made by winter, it's a high chance those apartments will collapse.
A 15 year renter and Red Rooster bar owner Gene Thorpe says he relies on these apartments to stay up and is relieved he is guaranteed another three months with a roof over his head.
"I probably packed up and left and moved down under the Yakima River Bridge down there with the rest of them," said Thorpe.
Thorpe says he's has never had any of the problems that were discovered by the city inspectors back in December, and claims it's up to the person to take care of their place.
"I've had a good report with him so as far as I'm concerned I'm happy with the way things are but unfortunately for some reason we are having a problem," said Thorpe.
The city says they accept the judge’s ruling, but doubt the owner will make progress and will have to settle this issue once again in three months.
If the judge see's progress being made on these apartments after three months, they could allow another extension.