City to seize Sisley property to create new park in Roosevelt

Mayor Murray and City Attorney Pete Holmes today announced a plan to seize two derelict properties near Roosevelt High School for public auction after the property owners, Hugh and Martha Sisley, failed to pay judgments, interest and penalties in excess of $3.3 million related to code violations on their rental properties in the neighborhood.

“Today we are announcing our plan to take what has been nothing short of a black eye on this neighborhood and turn it into something that the entire community can enjoy,” said Murray. “This blight has had a very real impact on property values and the success of local businesses.”

“I am proud of the tremendous interdepartmental cooperation that produced the innovative solution we present here today,” said Holmes. “We are already employing this approach to decaying, crime-breeding properties elsewhere in the Central District, West Seattle, and even with commercial targets Downtown.”

Neighbors and local businesses have complained for years about the properties and the criminal activity they have attracted. Over many years, the city has cited the property owner for numerous violations. The owner has failed to make required improvements.

Should the judgments, interest and penalties related to the violations remain unpaid, the city will seek to have the properties seized by the King County Sheriff and sold at auction. Murray intends to transmit an ordinance to the City Council next week that allows the city to purchase the two properties at 1322 and 1318 NE 65th St.

The city intends to bid on the properties at auction, using a credit bid based on the $3.3 million owed the city by the Sisleys, in order to build a new city park for the neighborhood.

If the supplemental proceedings that allows the city to collect more than $2 million in penalties have not concluded prior to the auction, the city will use a $1 King County Conservation Futures grant, in addition to credit based on the judgments and interest owed the city.

Roosevelt has long wanted more park space to help accommodate the increase in residents coming to the neighborhood. A new light rail station and more dense housing will increase the demand for more open space.