Ballard landlord losing tenants due to fear of drugs, crime, encampments
Kim Entrop has owned an apartment building just a couple of blocks off Market Street in Ballard for three decades, but the last couple of years have her wondering how much more she can handle.
Each month brings more financial losses to the landlord, as her tenants keep moving out, citing concerns for their personal safety.
“[I] just received another notice that a tenant is leaving due to what is going on right in front of them on the street — the dealing, the homeless, the parked cars, the tents, the screaming at night,” she told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.
Entrop notices a double standard — vans belonging to drug dealers constantly park up and down the street, catering to people living in RVs, but are never asked to move. She said that if she or her tenants tried to park in the same spaces for that long, they would be given a ticket or towed.
“None of the tenants want to go out — they can’t park on the street, there’s no room for parking because of the vans park there,” she said.
She wrote in an email, “The addicts roam the street yelling and cursing into the wee hours of the morning, come onto our property and even jump over tenants’ decks to access units.”
Entrop has called Seattle police on multiple occasions, but they have told her that their hands are tied. The cops have tried talking to the RV dwellers, but the RVs have stayed put.
“They barely come anymore,” she said of the police. “They don’t even show up.”
The lack of funding to actually clean up the streets is ironic, she said, considering the fact that the city wants to spend $550,000 on a “super toilet” in Ballard Commons Park.
She thinks the homeless people tend to gather in her neighborhood because of a nearby church that hands out hundreds of free meals a day. While she applauds the church for carrying out a compassionate mission, she noted that it has brought more crime to the nearby streets.
“I have lists of complaints from tenants about what’s going on in front of them,” she said. “They’re saying, ‘What can be done? Can’t you do something?’ They don’t feel safe. It’s causing so much tension.”
Now, she has to lower rents, and does not even know if she will be able to fill her building’s empty units as long as the status quo continues in Ballard.
“What happens now?” she asked.
The building holds a special place in Entrop’s heart, having been built by her brother-in-law decades ago. The same can be said for tenants, some of whom have lived there for 20 years.
“It means a lot to us,” she said of the building. “And when we see and hear all that’s going on in the neighborhood, right in front of our building, it’s really hard.”
She remembers a time when Old Town Ballard “was so lovely.”
“You could walk around day or night comfortably, but you can’t anymore,” she said.
However, she is determined not to give up.
“We’re going to keep fighting,” she said. “We’re going to keep on going.”