Tacoma apartment evictions spark anger and stress

TACOMA, Wash.-- The clock is ticking in Tacoma for about 100 residents at a low-income apartment complex that are getting evicted. After getting only 27 days notice -- half of them will have to be out by next Tuesday. The other half have until the end of May.

"I feel like I have a spear going through my heart," says resident Monica Clavano, "And I don't even have heart problems."

Clavano is a wheelchair and has lived at this complex near State Route 16 for 12 years now. It's a tiny two-room apartment she shares with her husband. She's on disability and, like her neighbors, counting down the days until her eviction.

"This is gentrification," she says. "None of us can afford this."

Moving supplies are piling up near the mailboxes. The new owners are only offering $900 to those that got the 27-day eviction notice, $600 for those who are forced to move by the end of May. For many on fixed incomes, that's not nearly enough to find a new place and afford first/last/deposit.

The city of Tacoma says county records show the new ownership is Seattle-based CWD Investments. CWD’s Chad Duncan tells the Tacoma News Tribune that the company intends to work with Tiki residents who communicate their hardships.

"It's just greed," says Michael Thunderheart. He's having a hard time finding a place for him and his 2-year-old support dog, Mocha.

"I live check to check," he says. "I don't have credit. I'm not behind on rent, but I still don't have $1,700 saved."

Thunderheart says he has a warning for other renters in affordable apartments in Tacoma: the wave of gentrification is coming.

"Start saving some money," he says. "You never know when that nest egg is going to pop."

The city of Tacoma says there's not too much they can do and are referring folks to services like the United Way. But, these evictions have sparked a conversation in Tacoma-- and might lead to changes in the ordinances surrounding these large-scale renovations and the evictions that often seem to follow.

Editors note: An earlier version of the story stated that CWD Investments denied having any relationship with the Tiki Apartments. This updated version includes new information that CWD’s Chad Duncan told the Tacoma News Tribune that they do and the company intends to work with residents.