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August 9, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Housing Authority commissioner resigns over Yesler Terrace plans

A Seattle Housing Authority Commissioner resigned Tuesday night over redevelopment plans for Yesler Terrace. Yusuf Cabdi said plans to sell parts of Yesler Terrace to private developers to fund more low-income housing are risky and don’t provide enough protection for current residents.

“They’re not paying attention to the needs of tenants,” Cabdi said by phone today. “They’re going to move them away and they may not get back for years. I’ve been raising these questions and when I couldn’t get answers, I decided I shouldn’t be part of the commission.”

Cabdi had served on the seven-member commission for five years, including a year as chairman in 2009. He is active in the East African immigrant community.

The City Council is currently considering final approval of the Yesler Terrace project. Plans call for private developers to build about 3,000 market-rate apartments and condos on the 30-acre site on First Hill. With the money from the property sale, the authority would reconstruct and expand its low-income housing at the site.

Current plans call for Yesler Terrace’s 1,200 residents to be moved away during construction.

Cabdi said he’s concerned that the residents, many of whom are immigrants and speak no English, won’t get the help they need to evaluate their options or protect their rights. He called for the Seattle City Council to appoint a paid third-party tenant advocacy group to ensure that tenants’ interests are protected.

Comments | Topics: Seattle Housing Authority, Yesler Terrace, Yusuf Cabdi

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