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December 07, 2005
LOCAL INTEREST 123
8 months to move Mobile Home residents must clear out by August 31, 2006
|Mashell Mobile Home Park as seen last fall for the story ?The changing landscape of Eatonville,? Sept. 7 page A-1.|
|File Photo by Michael Jeffries|
EATONVILLE, Washington (STPNS) -- One family has seven children, all enrolled in the Eatonville school system. Two elderly sisters thought they could live out their days within walking distance of essential services. A child cries at the thought of having to leave the only home she has ever known. A single man's mobile home is too old to move, and there's nowhere to put it, anyway.
But all these people and more - up to fifteen families in all - must find new places to live by the end of next summer.
When Mashell Mobile Home Park owner P.J. Maras, in his 80s, died last February, the property went to his and his wife Edna's grandson Ron Newman. Newman, who lives in Eatonville, owns Milestone Homes in Sumner, according to the Maras' son-in-law Jan Wolcott. Tenants were notified last August that the property would be developed into single-family homes, and they had a full year to relocate.
But most residents "don't have two nickels to rub together, as one trailer owner put it, and they are worried about their futures. The typical cost of renting space for a home is $500 a month; $700 a month is more like it in Federal Way and standard in California, according to one transporter.
Photo by Michael Jeffries A one-truck accident on Orville Road last Friday resulted in a light pole being taken down and a small motorhome being pushed into a cabin, and the truck being destroyed. A sheriff's deputy reported that the driver passed an auto doing 50 mph in the 35 mph zone and lost control when he hit a patch of snow. He was treated and released at the scene.
One estimate from a moving company is $6,000 per trailer... maybe less for a group rate. The family of nine can't find an apartment in town that will accept seven children. Maybe they couldn't afford it, anyway. Income is the problem for just about everyone in the park.
The State of Washington does offer help, however. There is a program which makes grants to income-qualifying people which reimburses up to $7,500 of the cost of moving a single-wide mobile home ($12,000 for a double-wide). Residents may call the Housing Programs Division of the Pierce County Dept. of Community Services at 1-800-964-0852 for an application packet. Once approved, the agency will notify transporters of its commitment to pay the homeowners' relocation expenses for transporting the home. Al Townsend of Spanaway, who transports trailers professionally, said a percentage of the sale of new trailers goes toward the cost of this program.
"The saddest part is, there's no place to go, he said.
Some residents are concerned that their mobile homes are so old, they contain asbestos and are not allowed to be moved. An inspection would cost $350 to $600, according to one Puyallup business; however, the contact person there said it is unlikely that would really be a problem, as most asbestos is in the roofing or flooring, which is not "friable - likely to crumble if moved. Single-wides are least at risk, but doublewides that must be separated for the move could be risky if they are older. Movers should be able to guarantee that asbestos will not be released into the air.
Additional costs are incurred when old mobile homes must have parts removed for the trip, such as awnings. Often, they cannot be replaced because the hardware to replace them is no longer made. Parts go into the dump.
Whole trailers go into the dump, sometimes in pretty good shape, because the cost of moving them far exceeds their resale value: perhaps $2,500. To be reset in a new location, they must first be brought up to present day code - another expense.
Ultimately, these Eatonville citizens need places to live in their hometown. Retirees should new place. Kids should not have to change schools. We need to care for all our townspeople, no matter their income levels. Eatonville should not become a town only the well-to-do can afford to live in.
If you can suggest a possible solution, please contact Judith East at The Dispatch.
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