Developments encroach on low-income senior housing

MARYSVILLE – For 15 years Lori Hanning lived next to a greenbelt. From her deck, front porch and little yard she could see deer and other wildlife.

Now she sees the makings of a dumpster with a huge hotel in the background.

Hanning has one of the 92 homes in Mobile Manor Park off 118th Street NE. They have seen a Sonic, Popeye’s, Arby’s and more spring up the past few years.

“This whole area is growing so fast,” said Mike Jones, manager of the mobile home park.

Hanning said wildlife has taken over the mobile home park. “Possums, raccoons, critters and varmints,” she said. “Coyotes are going nuts walking the streets at night.” Cats are disappearing, so animals are being kept in their homes. “Everybody’s on alert,” Hanning said.

The park manager said some residents have complained about their houses settling with all the vibrations going on from nearby construction. He said first there was a lot of pounding from the 118th Street overpass project, followed by the business development on that street and now La Quinta.

“The vibrations are making my house go off-kilter,” Hanning said.

She said some of the mobile home park residents are seeing gaps in their doors and add-ons being “pulled apart at the seams.”

Jones said most of the problems developed in the past few weeks.

“They’ve been really good working with us,” Jones said. “They’d buy donuts and coffee for the whole park.”

He said when residents complained about portable bathrooms being just 15 feet from their homes they were moved in a half hour.

Problems developed recently when pieces of styrofoam panels being cut flew into the park.

“It was snowing Thursday and Friday,” Jones said. “There was styrofoam all over the place.”

Some of the residents were told by veterinarians not to let their dogs out because if they sniff it their respiratory systems could be effected.

Jones said four units filed claims through Puget Sound Clean Air.

“They need to vacuum all this stuff up, otherwise it’s going to be here forever,” he said.

Another issue is the dumpster being built next to Hanning’s home.

“The dumpster’s the last straw. It’s a massive area, but they’re not concerned about the residents. It’s disrespectful. There’s so many other options,” she said. 

Hanning said it wouldn’t be so bad if they would have left more trees up as a barrier between the hotel and park.

Jones said the dumpster plan should have been thought out a little more. Not only could the smell be a problem, but also the time as hotels dump their garbage early every morning.

“And they’re not quiet about it,” Jones said. “They’re big trucks, and they’re going to make some noise.”

He said it’s their property, and they can do what they want.

“They can put palm trees up next week, and I can’t fight them on that,” he said.

However, he said the city should do a better job of looking out for seniors in low-income housing.

“They need to start protecting us,” he said. “Big business is jumping in here left and right and swallowing up a lot of land.”

Jones said people are “dying go get in here” because the mobile home park only charges $565 a month. He said the park’s owners wanted to buy the neighboring land for more units, but “that motel paid a lot of money for that land.”

Later that night, Hanning spoke at the City Council meeting and talked about the loss of property values and parking lot lights shining into their bedrooms all night.

Mayor Jon Nehring asked the planning department to see if there could be some voluntary cooperation from La Quinta.

Jones said by phone earlier that the city should ask for more money from commercial construction.

“Big business – hit them hard. They’ve got big bank,” he said.