Squatters kicked out of house at 12th and Jefferson

Police kicked out five people squatting in a boarded-up house near 12th and Jefferson December 14. The people squatting in the house identified themselves as part of Occupy Seattle until their camp at Seattle Central Community College was closed this week.

The occupants left the house voluntarily, police said.

Here’s SPD’s take on the eviction:

On December 14th at approximately 1:00 p.m. a property owner observed at least one subject entering a vacant and boarded up house in the 1200 block of East Jefferson Street.  The witness knew that the residence was unoccupied and no one should be inside.  He subsequently called 911.

Upon arrival officers noted that the rear door handle of the house was unlocked and easily turned.  While waiting for additional units to arrive officers discovered that the rear door had been locked.  An officer relocated to the front of the house just as the occupants began to exit.  Five subjects (three males and two females) voluntarily exited the house with their hands raised. 

The lead subject was holding a shiny brass key in his right hand and kept repeating, “we have the key”.  All five subjects immediately identified themselves with the “Occupy Seattle” movement.

Inside the house an officer located a brand new (still in the box) door lock/deadbolt assembly, which was submitted to evidence.  When the officer I exited the house, one of the male subjects said, “Oh, hey, you found our lock set”.  The subjects admitted to officers that they were intending to change the locks at this residence.

Because officers were unable to establish contact with the legal property owner, SFD responded and secured the premise. 

Officers identified and released all five subjects with a request for charges by the city attorney’s office for trespassing.

Meanwhile, the group at Turritopsis Nutricula are still living in the unfinished duplex at 23rd and Alder, nearly one month after taking the space over. While police and the Department of Planning and Development have signaled their intent to evict the occupiers there, Publicola reports that the property owner (Denmark West) has some concerns about liability should there be a police raid.

Other vacant houses could see groups of squatters moving in. An article in anarchist newspaper Tides of Flame (posted on the Puget Sound Anarchists website) has some helpful tips for those looking to occupy a vacant home.

62 thoughts on “Squatters kicked out of house at 12th and Jefferson

  1. That Turritopsis Nutricula house looks even worse now. I didn’t think that was possible. Great job, idiots!

  2. The nerve of homeless youth moving into a vacant house during the coldest months of the year! Shame! The corporation that owns it probably wants to flip that house and charge exorbitant rent to people who can’t afford to buy a home! Kids these days!

  3. There are lots of houses north of the ship canal that are empty, some new buildings that are empty condos or empty retail that are owned by corporation too.
    Ohh wait, you could get in trouble there, easier to pick on a minority area where no real political statement is made. Yep, pick on the black community just like the corporations you say you hate. Ohh and pretend to speak for them, like the republican corporate bosses you say you hate.
    Grow up!

  4. Uhm, how is it exactly that occupying a vacant building is “picking on the black community”?

    And how is it not a political statement to occupy an empty property, regardless of where said property is located?

  5. Wherever there are buildings left empty, presumably!

    The landless peasantry gotta set up roots somewhere.

  6. You haven’t heard?!?! Some of the people squatting in these houses ARE black! Other races, too! I thought things couldn’t get any worse, but now the squatters are race-mixing! The neighborhood itself is even all mixed up now. I looked at statistics and white and black people represent almost the same proportion of residents in the Central District. This is a horror!

    This house was is in a prime location, right next to Seattle University and Swedish Medical Center, only a block off of Broadway!!! These poor ruffians are hurting the economy and stealing from the righteous rich!

  7. You are right–these homeless youth deserve only the trashiest houses in the worst locations!!! In fact, they should really live in the trash dumps or next to industrial waste sites like the good poor do! Their rightful lot in life! Thank you for speaking up.

  8. WHY DON’T THEY JUST GET JOBBBBSSSS?!?!?!? There are so many vacancies in the job market and such high wages for young people these days!

  9. Better yet! They could go back to school–just a few thousand dollars in student debt goes such a long way!

  10. I live in the CD. I work. I pay rent. And hope that more squatters will soon become my new neighbors. Houses should be filled. And perhaps this could develop into a trend that scares off the yuppies.

  11. Corporations do not own houses in the CD, or most anywhere. You, Blah and probably others will have the same uneducated responses that do not answer the questions posed to you.Why not north of the ship canal? Why not commercial property owned in the downtown by banks? And no, your not multi-racial. Your group is white, I and others have seen you. Continue your racist misguided political delusions in the CD while the real 99% of OWS Seattle actually make sense.
    So come on, what is your next mindless come back?
    As I have said before, “sad, what a waste”!

  12. I also live and work in the CD, my wife and I fall into the pigionhole of young upwardly mobile professionals and worked our asses off to get there. I too pay rent. I am ok with the squatting, as long as everyone is behaved and follows the law, and yes you still can squat and be within the law.

    That said I took a walk by Turritopsis Nutricula and looks like shit.

    I have noticed over the last year that our local crop of anarchist have very poor aesthetics. The same tired anarchist clipart on their flyers, the poor choice of color schemes, and a general lack of either know how or the fortitude to finish the job. You know like finishing painting a wall. Not to mention shit graffiti with no style.

    There have been many great artist to emerge from anarchist tradition. I have lived in the squats of Europe and have to say that Seattle was cursed with the dregs of the anarchist world. As a group that says they want to “build community” they sure have a funny way of pissing everyone off.

  13. I think the house they are refering to in the article is the Victorian looking house by the etheopian restraunts. I know it use to be a punk house a few months ago, looks like they got evicted or left and prehaps some otheres moved back in.

  14. You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about, clearly. Fools who find your conclusions the most convenient will obviously agree–others will doubt… and wonder.

    Yes, corporations do own houses in the CD… There are lots of corporations. Not all of them are called “Wal-Mart,” you fucking idiot. It is fucked up for anyone to own a house that they do not personally use but merely keep on hand to perhaps one day use to make a profit. These were kids who needed a place to live. Why do you think private property is more important than someone having shelter?

  15. Why don’t you go give an aesthetics lecture then, ye squatting expert? Perhaps you squatted once, now you pay to live, and you are pathetic.

  16. Really though – if you’ve lived in European squats and have so much insight into the anarchist community, why don’t you offer a class on proper design and aesthetics, and your experiences with squatting?

    Commenting from the sidelines is all well and good, but there are actual people you could be talking to and interacting with. Then your local squats and anarchist flyers will look better, and everybody wins!

  17. From comments left here and other places, by people who appear to be squatters (with active internet capability) it appears that you are claiming:

    1. That anyone who makes more income than they need to survive (need to survive as defined by you), and then re-invests it, is fair game to have that property taken from them and used by others.

    2. Further, that such people are worthy of contempt.

    3. Further, that the people taking the property are confined only by their needs (as defined by you – and includes mere political statement as included in need), and are therefore free and encouraged to destroy, damage, and mistreat anyone in the process of exercizing your “rights” as just explained.

    One does not have to form a corporate identity in order to flip properties (a form of investing), but it IS wise – standard practice – and the general expectation. But, when OWS began (at least), there was a differentiation between the 1% and everyone else.

    Currently 1%ers have an after tax income in the United states of about $350k per year. This number is adjusted for the post economic collapse, downward.

    Having written all of the above – comments left here by the self proclaimed squatters sound naive, trite, convenient, selfish, narcissistic, defensive, inappropriately aggressive, and just simply foolish.

    Now – regarding this article – the conclusion that they were GOING to change the door locks, seems odd to me. They had a new shiny key. They had a door locking mechanism. I think I am leaning towards – they already changed the door lock on at least the back door…

  18. Well anon, the comment above you explains it all. I have had my fill of Seattle “anarchist.” In fact several years of dealing with short sighted hippy/sociology major bullshit from kids who grew up in white liberal privileged Seattle who think they can solve the worlds problems by being self hating white kids yelling “fuck you” is enough to turn one to the other side.

    I work for the system now, emergency medicine, and I do far more good (and make far more money) then I ever did dressing in black and throwing rocks at the cops.

  19. You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about, not really, and have fallen so far out of contact with Seattle anarchists that you don’t understand anything about us. Your insistence that we have poor aesthetics is purely subjective and is also ignoring the myriad anarchist projects that are (also subjectively) well-designed. I would actually argue that many anarchists focus too much on good design… to the point of snobbishness. But here are a few examples of what I consider to be well-designed anarchist publications from Seattle:

    As far as our spaces go, consider the Autonomia social center. Considering the lack of resources, those folks did a hell of a job putting together a functional, comfortable community space.

    About being self-hating white kids–there has been a lot of conversation within the Seattle anarchist scene in the past few years about identity politics and privilege, and I think you’ll find that the discourse has changed a lot. Not too much useless white-guilt among the anarchists I know, but we do still take racism very seriously. There are also anarchists of color among us, so please don’t fall into the old trap of assuming that all anarchists are young, white, straight, and male. It is insulting to those of us who are not.

    Anyway, now you have a well-paying job and are comfortable. Way to go, way to live the American dream. You know that emergency medicine and anarchism are not mutually exclusive, right? Sadly, far too many anarchists have dropped out as they’ve grown older. I guess some people just can’t take the heat. Happily, more and more futureless young people are being drawn to anarchist ideas. So perhaps we don’t need you, your design skills, or your approval after all.

  20. Squatting in a failed project on 23rd is not the issue.

    The issue is the banks, the financial system that invented products for quick profit that were designed to fail. The issue is that those selling the products were bailed out, while those who purchased the products, and the rest of us paid the price.

    But, people apparently too selfish to work with the message have turned the OWS message upside down for their own purposes. The project likely failed due to the property bubble caused by the failed products. But rather than occupy the banks, they occupy the property of the victim of the banks.

    The occupiers themselves have simply proven once again the pervasiveness of selfishness.

  21. Of course someone doesn’t need to form a corporation in order to flip properties. But I know that a corporation owns the house on 12th and Jefferson, if it’s the one I think it is. The empty one on the corner with graffiti all over the inside. I looked it up on the King County assessor’s website. Sure enough, it is owned by International Real [Estate?] Holdings, LLC. http://info.kingcounty.gov/Assessor/eRealProperty/Dashboard.

    I do believe that property that is not being used is “fair game” for squatters. Why shouldn’t someone without a home not be allowed to make one in a vacant house? Tell me why.

    As far as being “free and encouraged to destroy, damage, and mistreat anyone in the process of exercizing [our] rights”… What the hell are you talking about? The only things/people I wish to destroy are those that prevent me from being free–namely, this economic system (capitalism) which is based profit-driven exploitation, the state that protects and defends it, and anyone who stands between me and my freedom to live without coercive social and economic relations. I have no interest in hurting other people “just because.” My anarchism is about egalitarianism and cooperation, not some kind of survival of the fittest crap. That’s the status quo you’re talking about.

    Personally, I’ve never been very excited about the “99%” thing because I realize that class society is far more complicated than that. So while I do make distinctions between a landlord who owns 3 properties and Fannie Mae, I hate both landlords and banks and want to see them both gone. Yes, I find them contemptuous. The petty landlords still have time to choose sides, but I know that people who have a lot invested in things remaining unchanged are unlikely to join the struggle…

    There is no logic fail here, we just have entirely different world views. Your logic is capitalist, mine is anti-capitalist and anarchist. We have completely different value systems.

  22. This was never an OS project but an autonomous one taken by people who have participated in OS.

    You are aware that a B.E.T. executive owns that house, right? A member of the economic elite. Most likely a 1%er. He owns a lot of CD property and makes even more money as a landlord.

    Even rich people lose money on investments sometimes. Luckily some people have had a home for a month when they might not have otherwise. Pretty selfish of some homeless folk to make use of a half-built house owned by a really rich corporate exec. Good point… ?!?!

    Also, are you aware that building occupations and squatting are now happening all over the US (well, squatting was already happening before, but the idea is becoming more public and widespread), including in NYC in relation to OWS?

  23. Whooaaaa man, slow down! You’re like , blowing my mind here dude!!!

    You mean young people would actually have to WORK to earn their way in life???

    You mean that someone would have to take on a few thousand dollars in debt to purchase an education that will earn them, on average, $1,000,000 more than workers without diplomas over their lifetime??! That’s… Oh wait. That’s actually a really solid deal that really makes a lot of sense.

  24. You wrote –
    “I do believe that property that is not being used is “fair game” for squatters. Why shouldn’t someone without a home not be allowed to make one in a vacant house? Tell me why.”

    My response –
    This is not just some abstract discussion – it is in the context of random people deciding that a home is abandoned or not in use, and then taking it upon themselves to take control over that property.

    Real property is not merely homes, it is the structure for commercial enterprise, and it is financial investment. You darn-well know that even the most polite and respectful squatter will make a property less marketable…and frankly for months the overt squatting being discussed can not in any form be characterized as polite and respectful.

    You arbitrarily deem yourself worthy of taking anothers property, and use it for your own ends – screw the impact on anyone else.

    With your great research to determine that house was owned by an incorporated entity, did you also find out what the plans were with the property? Did you seek permission from the owner? No you did not. However you seek to dress-up your position it is rooted in an unwarranted entitlement.

    It’s too bad you so quickly dismiss the one argument that I might have empathized with at-all(the role of 1% v. 99%). It is this element of the OWS message that keeps their argument from being one of pure lawlesness over society, pure might makes right over peace.

    Consider this – with your argument as you articulated, when someone, anyone, who agrees with you wants something you have, feels entitled to it, has decided without talking to you that you don’t need it – they can just take it AND keep it from you.

    Now consider this – so far, property owners have respected the rule of law and left this matter to the authorities. What happens when they disregard the law as blatantly as you have (and you advocate for)?

    You are not as strong or self-reliant as you clearly believe. My guess is that you think you can actually handle what would come. You are wrong. You are misguided. You are naive.

    You do not understand that these laws protect YOU as much as they protect the incorporated entity.

    You are right, we have different value systems. Mine is rooted in reality – yours fantasy.

    Finally, our system of government has pathways for a person to change the very structure of our society. It really is an amazing system. Breaking rules while screaming “do it my way!” is the act of a petulant child.

    There is absolutely no chance that this behavior results in anything but arrests, or (heaven forbid) self-help by landowners. …and by doing this, you trivialize the efforts of people who are working for real change.

  25. Hahaha, this guy really hit a nerve with Lucas Carter here. He’s responded 3 times already.

    Pretty funny being called out by someone who has seen actual anarchist groups.

    And is there not some insane irony that Lucas is denigrating this poster for “watching from the sidelines”. Ad what, exactly, have you done Lucas?? Seems to me that you involve yourself in what is essentially watching and commenting from the sidelines, only with a lot more pageantry, a lot more words and fliers and lame eZines I’m sure.

    Piss off dude. Nobody cares about your juvenile political views.

  26. Please validate your use of “the economic elite.” How are you defining it? How are you establishing that the owner of this property qualifies?

    “Most likely…” You throw that out there to try to dress-up your criminality. You don’t even have any idea who owns that property or what their economic resources are, other than innuendo and speculation.

    There is nothing new about squatting.

    There is something new about seizing property clearly and knowingly owned by another in a deliberate power-play and expecting that anything other than jail time will result.

    Do you even know why squatting exists as a pathway to landownership? Obviously not.

    Ignorant little loud-mouths.

  27. @Sea:

    How can you be a cooperative and egalitrian anarchist? That sounds like a team of Mavericks?

  28. Sea@

    Shut up and paint your goddamn house!

    It makes the community look bad, and perhaps more importantly it makes you look bad.

    So you have some zines with a nice layout that you share amongst yourselves, but you post trash the neighborhood. This and your confrontational manner aggressively talking down to and demonizing people who fail to fall into the strict guidelines of your belief system is why people hate you. You kids are worse than fascist, and more stifling than many of the things you rail against.

    Clean things up. Stop screaming and put your toys away. Do something nice, something that makes people smile, people outside of your little group. Stop pretending you are fighting a war, you’re not, and believe me you don’t want to be.

    I may sound like a hippie, and I hate hippies, but it is important to get along with people. Why are you fighting with your neighbors? Are they your enemy? I mean you guys did decide to rub shit in everyone’s face then wonder why they don’t got your back against “the man.” Instead, as in the case of Autonomia they banded together along informal lines using a community based decision process and available means to run your ass out. That sounds like real anarchism to me.

    You need to change your ways, mellow out. You say you want a lawless society; however you are also pissing a bunch of people off while being under the protection of the very social contract that you claim to be against.

  29. >”The only things/people I wish to destroy are those that prevent me from being free–namely, this economic system (capitalism) which is based profit-driven exploitation, the state that protects and defends it, and anyone who stands between me and my freedom to live without coercive social and economic relations.”

    So in short EVERYONE!

  30. nope jackass im right here. different people. hard to believe, i know, but not everyone agrees with you.

  31. err… Precisely

    Before I get an anarchist assault the inequality and class issues of my typing.

  32. Capitalism is the MOST free.

    @Karl. Capitalism is the most free economic system. Communism and other command driven economic systems depend on very smart people making decisions for the masses, setting prices, levels of production, pay scale. In a true communist system all these choices are decided for the people by the government from above. Look at any Communist nation.

    Let me ask a point of clarification. Do you want a command economy like the USSR? Or do you want something different? Please elaborate so I can better understand.

  33. Dude I was quoting.

    I like capitalism, no other economic system allows for such innovation or can adapt so quickly to new challenges. Even communist innovations were driven by direct competition with American capitalism. The fact that the system is rooted in the competition innate to all living things makes it well, unbeatable, as long as there is scarcity, there will always be capitalism. Corporatism on the other hand I have a problem with, as corporations like to use government regulation to put controls on the free market.

  34. Is anyone out there a lawyer? If the owner at 23rd and Alder is supposedly concerned about liability in the event of a raid, are there other avenues neighbors could pursue? For instance, isn’t the owner bound to keep the house up to code? Can he really just wash his hands of this situation, to the detriment of the neighbors, neighborhood and in the event of an emergency at the squat, the city (whose emergency services will be dispatched etc)? Really, is there a lawyer who can provide some guidance here?

  35. Selfish: Are *you* aware that other Occupations are taking place with serious forethought, sensitivity to the neighborhoods, respect for/dialogue with neighbors? That they are moving local/neighborhood families into abandoned (not temporarily unoccupied but officially abandoned–no taxes paid, no maintnenance, etc. for years) or formally foreclosed homes? That they are occupying empty banks? You’re not talking to dummies who don’t read. Oh why am I even wasting my energy?

  36. I am a lawyer, and I am going to encourage you to NOT get overly concerned about this situation.

    If you are directly impacted (you are loosing money, loosing the ability to use your own property) by something taking place on his/her property, write a certified/return receipt letter to the owner.

    If you are not contacted, or your concerns addressed, then contact an attorney of your own.

    Other than that, with respect, mind your own business (this sounds harsh, I do not mean it in a harsh way, but I am responding to what I believe are your overly charged choices of language).

    We do not have enough information for any of the houses being squatted in, to know what – if anything – is being done by the land owner.

  37. Oops, I misunderstood my earlier post should be directed to @Sea. @Sea! Do you believe in anarchism or communism? (you can’t say both) I would like clarification.

  38. Anarchism and communism are not mutually exclusive. Anarcho-communism has a long, rich history. State/authoritarian communism and anarchism ARE, however, very different and have conflicted over and over again. You’re not so naive as to buy into the corporate media’s one-dimensional representation of anarchism… are you?

    There are lots of different kinds of anarchism, including individualist, green, feminist, insurrectionary, etc, etc, etc…

    The Seattle Solidarity Network is a good example of anarcho-communist theory in action: seasol.net

    In case your screenname is referring to “the dude” from the Big Lebowski, you might be interested to know that his character is based on a Seattle guy named Jeff Dowd who was a radical and one of the “Seattle Seven”. He was arrested and charged with “conspiracy to incite a riot” for organizing a march in which the US courthouse was paint-bombed and had its windows smashed out and people fought with the police. More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seattle_Liberation_Front

  39. @Sea – your conclusions demonstrate that you substitute innuendo for fact, and then feel free to act upon it.

    Logic Fail.

  40. Edward, I have no intention of either “minding my own business” by waiting for trouble to come to my front door, nor of doing anything to the owner. (I’m also not sure what was so charged about my language, but perhaps it was one of those tone things that gets lost in digital text.) I was and still am asking an actual question: can owners ignore a situation like this? I still welcome an answer from you or anyone else.

  41. I ask realizing that I do not know at all what the owner is doing or thinking, I’m not assuming anything about what he is or isn’t doing and I hope for the best. That said, I am interested to understand what the parameters are here. Can an owner decide s/he doesn’t care about a squat and just let it go?

  42. The house is not legally habitable. Complaints have gone to DPD about this house that does not have a occupancy permit as it was under construction. DPD needs to follow up and fine the owner and demand those living there be evicted if the house remains occupied. The police can remove the occupants if the owner requests it. Or the owner can get his own security people to kick them out. I have friends who are developers that have had security people throw out drug dealers who have rented under false pretenses. It does not take long. Why he is afraid of legal issues if he has the Police throw them out is not rational.

  43. I have no problem with homeless people squatting in vacant properties, as long as they’re not dicks about it. All they had to do was keep it clean and quiet, and they might actually have some neighbors on their side. Instead, they started tagging the neighborhood with high-school level political rhetoric (“Gentrification Kills” and “Rise With Us”), and made the property even uglier than it was.

    They’re deliberately provoking their neighbors, and then they come here to call us names when we show no sympathy for their impending eviction.

    News flash: You’re not political activists. You’re emotional cripples with a compulsive need to create crisis in your own lives so you can feel self-righteous about it. Get help.

  44. Thanks, Eyes. I’m just trying to understand if there is any accountability and who holds it here. It seems very bizarre.

  45. one of the best quotes from that article, referring to us gentrifiers moving into the Central District:

    “It is this area in particular that has witnessed an invasion of outsiders over the past 15 years.”

    So that means the folks who are squatting are long time residents of the Central Area? Whoooo boy. I find that hard to believe….

  46. The best quote from the article is as follows:

    “An ugly cubist-fascist-brutalist style house had the superior wood of its fence tagged with the phrase GENTRIFICATION KILLS.”

    They should do stand-up comedy nights at their squat to raise funds.

    but all cubist-fascist-brutalists are not invited!

  47. Now they are architectual critics? As before they show profound ignorance with every statement. Brutalist no, cubist no, must have benn something they heard daddy or mommy say when they were little, before the trust fund was cut off.

  48. “Instead, they started tagging the neighborhood with high-school level political rhetoric (“Gentrification Kills” and “Rise With Us”)”

    Can you prove they did it? Really? Present your evidence.

    If you can’t, then shut up, dummy.

  49. “Can you prove they did it? … If you can’t, then shut up, dummy.”

    High school politics backed up with grade school taunts. How are people supposed to “rise with you” if you won’t even admit who you are?