City of Kent files lawsuit to declare Phoenix Court Apartments public nuisance

Aug 16, 2023, 6:50 PM | Updated: Aug 17, 2023, 11:21 am

Image: Three Kent Police Department vehicles...

Three Kent Police Department vehicles (Photo: KIRO 7)

(Photo: KIRO 7)

The City of Kent filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court Tuesday to declare the Phoenix Court Apartments a public nuisance and seek an injunction, according to a press statement.

The city explained that it has elected to take legal action after over a year of insisting that ownership improves the safety of the complex.

Calling the complex in the East Hill neighborhood, “a hotbed of criminal activity, from shootings to stolen vehicles to drug dealing,” the city said it called meetings with management in July and October of last year and in January of this year. The city reported The property owner refused to attend the third meeting. and the city then “issued a Chronic Criminal Nuisance letter to the property owner and the management company detailing required remedies.”

More Washington crime news: Bellevue police rescue 15-year-old sex trafficking victim, suspect arrested

The city noted in its release that while some progress was made to make safety improvements to the property, crime has continued.

KIRO 7 notes there were seven shootings in five months at the Phoenix Court Apartments this year, with incidents taking place Feb. 11, May 17June 4, June 22, June 30, July 15 and July 27.

Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla recently called the complex a problem area.

“I’m just going to be very transparent. We are having major issues with crime at that particular apartment,” Padilla said, according to KIRO 7. “Right now it is the most serious location we’re concerned about. It somehow became the focus of major drug activity, and the violence that comes with major drug activity,” he said.

Looking at the overall numbers, Kent has had 17 homicides this year dwarfing last year’s count (nine), with more than four months of 2023 remaining.

In its release, the City of Kent said responding to major incidents at Phoenix Court are drawn away from other calls throughout the city.

“The current state of the Phoenix Court Apartments poses a significantly higher risk to public safety and consumes a disproportionate amount of emergency first responder resources as compared to its peer and neighboring apartment complexes,” Padilla said in the statement. “This is not just a high crime issue, it’s an issue of property ownership and management failing to meet its legal obligation to ensure tenants have a reasonably safe place to live.”

Kent crime news: Driver arrested for possible DUI, 12-year-old killed in crash

As the news release explains, the city’s lawsuit seeks a number of remedies. They include requiring ownership to complete a long list of tasks, including:

  • Evict tenants that engage in criminal conduct or host guests who engage in criminal conduct
  • Allow existing tenants to vacate their apartments without penalty and in some cases receive relocation assistance
  • Complete the security fencing and gate surrounding the property, ensure the entrance code is changed regularly, and ensure the fence is kept in good repair
  • Improve the safety of the complex by: Installing security cameras at each building; improving facility lighting; maintaining a 24/7 security presence

“Residents of the Phoenix Court Apartments and the surrounding neighborhood deserve to live in a safe place,” Kent Mayor Dana Ralph said in the release. “It is beyond frustrating that the city must spend its resources to force the property owner to provide the safe living experience that, as a landlord, they are required by law to provide.”

Local News

Image: A photo from Seattle's Southpaw Barbershop (Photo courtesy of Tommy Andrade via KIRO Newsrad...

Jake Skorheim

Skorheim: Ex-Tesla engineer becomes barber who cuts foster kids’ hair for free

I recently had Tommy Andrade on KIRO Nights to chat about something very unique he and his co-owner have started doing at Southpaw Barber Shop in Seattle.

4 hours ago

Seattle patient...

Bill Kaczaraba

Wash. hospitals in capacity crisis; beds per capita worst in US

Washington has fewer beds per capita than any other state, and between one and two out of every 10 beds are taken by patients who don't need to be there.

5 hours ago

health data apps...

Micki Gamez

How health tracking apps, smart watches are selling sensitive data

Earlier this month, a report was released about modern cars invading consumers' privacy and selling data. Health-tracking apps are doing the same thing.

7 hours ago

Image: Actor David McCallum attends an event for "NCIS" during the 2009 Monte Carlo Television Fest...

Associated Press

David McCallum, star of hit series ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ and ‘NCIS,’ dies at 90

Actor David McCallum, who was the eccentric medical examiner in the popular "NCIS," has died. He was 90.

8 hours ago

mercer island bang thanksgiving...

L.B. Gilbert

Mercer Island High School band to play in Thanksgiving Day Parade

The eyes of millions will be on the Mercer Island High School marching band this Thanksgiving as the high school musicians play in the Macy's Parade in New York City.

9 hours ago

warm dry summer 2023...

Ted Buehner

Looking back on a warm and dry summer of 2023 as fall begins

The summer of 2023 in Western Washington can be summarized as warm and dry, which many would say is nearly ideal.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

City of Kent files lawsuit to declare Phoenix Court Apartments public nuisance