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Finch Place residents fear reprisals

Finch Place, a quiet, subsidized-housing facility for elderly and disabled residents, is described by its owners as a place where “all residents can live in harmony.”

However, increasing polarization within the building’s community has led to a firm stance by the property’s owners that any disruptions by residents could result in their being asked to leave the low-income development.

The controversy revolves around a handful of residents who have raised issues of general upkeep, safety and the involvement of Finch Place’s manager in the affairs of residents and upkeep of the building.

Complaints within the community culminated in an Oct. 28 meeting which brought together worried parties and owners of the property, Issaquah-based Ad-West Realty. Also on hand were representatives of the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority, which heavily subsidizes the rent payments of Finch Place residents. Financial problems at KCCHA are not expected to affect the subsidization of Finch Place.

The day after the meeting, Ad-West representatives sent a letter to all residents. The letter has disturbed some tenants who felt they were simply speaking out regarding their legitimate concerns. Some are now worried that they will be evicted if they continue to voice concerns publicly.

The letter said that “a few residents are causing a stressful situation” which is causing a “health and safety concern” for other residents. The letter goes on to warn that residents who engage in “hostility, negative comments,” or any action that interferes with resident’s rights or “disturbs the quiet enjoyment of the premises,” will be asked to leave the apartments.

As of Tuesday, none had been asked to leave.

The letter also said that Ad-West sides with the majority of Finch Place residents, who, according to the letter, expressed their support of the facility’s management.

One of the residents said as many as eight tenants have criticized Ad-West and Finch Place’s manager for failing to clean gutters, windows and a community pond that had started growing mold and attracting mosquitos. Residents also raised issue with outdated fire safety routines that would ensure that the 30 inhabitants of the facility would be able to exit safely in case of an emergency. By petitioning Ad-West, the residents said, many of the problems have been resolved.

“We were dedicated to trying to make a change, and we have, and we take credit for it,” said one tenant who asked not to be named. “But (our manager) has refused to listen to us.”

Some residents also said they have had problems with the facility’s manager, Mary O’Connor, who did not immediately return a phone call for comment. Micah O’Brien, an Ad-West employee who signed the letter said he had no comment regarding the situation at Finch Place.

Residents, all of whom did not want to be named, spoke of their growing exasperation with the situation.

“It has caused lots of stress for a lot of people,” one senior said. “Now we’re getting blamed for the problems.”

One long-term resident, who has been at the facility for over 15 years, has enjoyed living at Finch Place and admires the facility’s manager, but admits things have recently turned bitter.

“It’s a wonderful place to live and I would hate to live anywhere else,” she said. “But I know there are problems in the place and I feel I am right in the middle of it.”

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