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Chateau Apartments tenant Renee Gordon: Time to put people before profits!

 

I am honored to stand with the Chateau Apartment tenants, who are facing eviction from their Central District neighborhood by Cadence Real Estate, a big for-profit developer. Last Thursday, I held a press conference with the Chateau tenants, clergy, and other community supporters. Renee Gordon, one of the tenants, spoke up – her statement is below. And please join with me, the Chateau tenants, and community supporters at the March 16 meeting of the City Council’s Renters Rights Committee, which I chair.

I would like to thank Kshama for letting us know what was going on, because we had no idea they were even going to demolish the building. We did get a notice saying that they were going to get rid of section 8, but you know I said well we’ll just pay the difference, cause we don’t want to move. My name is Renee. I take care of my aunt, Mother Gordon. She took care of me since I was three months old so I relocated back to Seattle four years ago to take care of her. Mother Gordon is 88 years old. She has lived at the Chateau for 30 years now and the Chateau is her home. She is upset and hurt to think that she’s going to be kicked out of her home because Cadence Real Estate wants to tear it down and build new small units.

Our family came from Arkansas in the forties and settled in this area. This is the only area we were allowed to live in. My cousin JJ lives upstairs in an apartment. We like having him nearby. We feel safe knowing he is close by.

Mother Gordon has seen her friends pass away and their children sell their property for pennies on the dollar. She has see the neighborhood change so much. Whenever I take her out she says “I don’t recognize this neighborhood anymore, it’s changed so much” and I tell her it’s okay, but it’s still changing and I never thought the change would come to our doorstep.

Mother Gordon wants to stay in her home. Her church, God’s Pentecostal Temple, is located just three blocks away at 16th and Fir. It’s been there since the 1930s. She got saved there when she was 16 years old. Her doctor, Mary Quiroz, is just up the street on 19th at Country Doctor. We shop at the local stores – Trader Joe’s, Central Co-op, Grocery Outlet, and PCC. It’s convenient to get to the stores, and the clerks know us and they even give us a hug. It feels good to know that they know us and we know them.
The senior citizen center is up the street on Jackson. That’s where she can go sometime to get a hot lunch and see some of her remaining friends.

Why does she have to leave? Why do we have to be uprooted from our communities? She’s very hurt, and I’m hurt too.

Cadence Executives Chris Garvin, John Garvin, Barrett Johnson – please put people before profits. It shows here that your company has a $185 million portfolio. Surely you can afford it.

How would you feel if someone did this to the people you love and care about. Remember Saint Mark 8:36: “For what shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul.”

It’s time for soul-searching.

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