Property owner Hugh Bangasser spoke out about the circumstances leading up to Wednesday’s eviction of a controversial Seattle activist.
The eviction of a controversial Seattle activist from a house on a Central Area block poised for redevelopment did not target the arts and education center that once held a lease there, a member of the family that owns the property says.
More than two dozen people gathered at 24th Avenue and East Spring Street on Wednesday to protest the eviction at the house long associated with the center.
But Hugh Bangasser, in an interview Friday, said the Umoja PEACE Center ceased formal operations at the house years ago. The eviction targeted activist and center organizer Omari Tahir-Garrett, who continued to use the house afterward.
The court order executed Wednesday was for his eviction.
Most Read Stories
In a signed declaration in April 2016, Tahir-Garrett’s son, Wyking Garrett, identified himself as president and board director of the Umoja PEACE Center and said the center was no longer a tenant. He said the center’s lease had expired.
“Umoja is not now nor since 2015 has it been a tenant or occupant,” the declaration said.
In an interview Friday, Garrett said, “There is a specific corporation, Umoja PEACE Center, that was not doing programming there … But grass-roots community initiatives and various things were still functioning.”
Bangasser said Tahir-Garrett — known for occupying the former Colman School before it became the Northwest African American Museum and for assaulting then-Mayor Paul Schell — hadn’t been paying rent and had allowed homeless people to camp beside the house.
“The eviction at the residence is due to continuing conditions caused by the failure of Omari to maintain the property in an appropriate manner,” Bangasser said Friday.
The Bangasser family owns the block between 23rd and 24th avenues and East Union…