July 17, 1997 in Washington Voices

Pacific Park Residents, Agency Still At Odds

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Mediation broke down Monday between a group of Pacific Park neighbors and the Spokane Housing Authority.

Neighbors say they’re now considering canceling their small claims case, hiring a lawyer and filing a lawsuit against the housing agency.

The case was originally scheduled to be heard in small claims court on July 9 but was postponed when the housing agency told the judge it hadn’t received adequate notice.

The court date has been rescheduled for Aug. 14 at 9 a.m.

Judge Richard White advised both groups to try mediation to solve their dispute outside of court.

The groups met with a mediator from Inland Mediation Center but were unable to settle.

“Unfortunately, no agreement was reached, although the housing authority offered a number of accommodations,” said Mary Jo Harvey, executive director for the housing agency.

The 10 neighbors claim the agency provided housing to a noisy family who ruined their quality of life and peace of mind.

In a letter presented at mediation, the neighbors said they were “victimized by these tenants due to numerous episodes of malicious mischief, disruption of our holidays, harassment, mail tampering, theft, suspected drug activity, noise, name-calling, constant foul language and obscene gestures, violence and destruction of property.”

Spokane Housing Authority served an eviction notice on the family in March, then withdrew it and began working with the family to find new housing. The family moved away in early June.

Since the agency is the landlord, the suit was filed against it rather than the tenants.

Each of the complaining neighbors can ask for up to $2,500 if they win in small claims court. The judge will decide the actual awards, if any.

But Pacific Park neighbors say the issues in their case have become so complicated, they are considering hiring a lawyer.

Lawyers are not allowed in small claims court.

The neighbors have been working with Safe Streets, a division of the Spokane Police Department and community-oriented policing that helps residents bothered by neighborhood nuisances.

Safe Streets has handled some 200 complaints by neighbors in the past three years. All but four were settled out of court.

, DataTimes


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