The residents of Turritopsis Nutricula at 23rd and Alder had their day in court December 28, sort of. The judge found in favor of 307309 23rd LLC and ordered the John and Jane Doe occupants to leave and pay due rent.
The collective — which has been living in the unfinished duplex since November 19 — has until January 7 to vacate before police can kick them out.
Though the defense failed to appear in court, they did file an answer to the plaintiff’s complaint accusing the legal owner of abandoning the property and leaving it to rot when the real estate market tanked. They also claimed that the property owner actually owed the occupants money for rehabilitation work, and that they intend to trade such services for residency.
The attorney for the defense argued that the defendants took over the property without the legal owner’s permission and should give it back.
The judge ruled that the residents must vacate the property in ten days (January 7 by our count), though they have an option to extend that another ten days if needed. After that, police will be able to take action to evict them. The judge also ruled that the defendants can be held liable for rent (plus interest) and any damages discovered.
Attempts to contact attorneys for the defendants and plaintiff were unsuccessful. Both the decision and the defendant statement are posted below.
People arrested in Dec 23 raid charged
In other Central District occupation news, the three people arrested during a December 23 raid on a house at 19th and Spruce have been charged, two with trespassing and one with a weapons charge for possessing a four-inch knife. The legal limit is 3.5 inches.
A large number of officers showed up to evict people they said were squatting in the space illegally after some neighbors filed complaints. Two men were in the space at the time and were arrested. The third person arrested was among the large group of protesters who showed up when news of the raid broke.
Police accused the occupants of trespassing and vandalizing the property, but Occupy Seattle claims the occupants were artists who were painting a mural inside the 102-year-old house, which has not been legally occupied for years. Occupants also claim they were given a key to the home, which has since been boarded-up.
Occupy Seattle criticized the raid, questing the use of so many heavily-armed officers to evict two “unarmed Occupy Seattleites,” according to a press release:
Just hours before Christmas Eve, Seattle S.W.A.T Team surrounded a house in the 1900 block of East Spruce Street, only to find 2 unarmed Occupy Seattleites, who had been given a house key. After hours of lighting up the neighborhood with the shining headlights of 8 squad cars, a team of 15 Seattle S.W.A.T. entered the house with guns drawn and a battering ram. “The door was unlocked,” said Shanti, one of the individuals occupying the home. “No one was armed, everyone was peaceful.”
According to the Seattle Police Department, the raid came in response to a 911 call reporting several male and female subjects had unlawfully entered and occupied the residence. “The key was given to us,” said Cammi, another occupier.
The individuals have identified themselves as participants of Occupy Seattle and artists trying to better the community. The graffiti that was mentioned inside the home was a large mural on the wall, depicting a forest landscape.
Turritopsis Nutricula court documents: