Over 16 mostly immigrant-run businesses have to be out by the end of the week.
Over 16 mostly immigrant-run businesses have to be out by the end of the week. Some say they'll have trouble moving heavy equipment in time. Courtesy Photo

The decision came late Tuesday afternoon.

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Back in March the City of SeaTac, which is run by a Trumpian mayor and a majority white city council, issued eviction notices to 50 mostly immigrant-run businesses operating out of the SeaTac Market "

The owners had to be out by August 31 to make room for a large housing and commercial development from the Inland Group, the Spokane-based developer who bought the place from the city last year.

But the SeaTac Community Coalition, a group representing the displaced business owners, had hopes that the city would grant a request from the developer to let them stay through the end of the year. Inland didn't plan to close on the deal by the end of the year, and they had no problem with letting the businesses continue to operate until they needed to break ground.

On Tuesday, however, SeaTac told Scott Morris, general counsel at Inland, that the city wouldn't extend the tenancies, a decision that will force the 16 remaining tenants to leave by the end of the week.

Over the phone, Abdulhakim Hashi, a leader of the SeaTac Community Coalition, said he was "shocked."

"Everybody was thinking we’d stay longer, thinking we’d have at least four months," he said.

That's because, for the last several months, the business owners and Inland had been negotiating relocation assistance funds and a plan to allow businesses to remain onsite until construction needed to begin.

In early August, Morris asked the city if they'd extend the tenancies through December. The city rejected that request. After meeting with all of the tenants and subtenants and their counsel last Thursday, August 22, Morris re-requested the extension. On Tuesday the city again denied the second request.

Hashi said a city official told him that SeaTac declined the request because they were afraid that business owners who had already vacated the premises would sue.

In an email, SeaTac city clerk Kyle Moore said, "The City has not changed the move out date in order remain transparent, equitable and fair to all the tenants."

Moore stresses that the city isn't technically evicting anyone, but, rather, "the purchase and sale agreement with the Inland Group required the vacation of all tenants from the property." The tenants were simply "noticed to vacate with the impending sale of the property."

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The hard deadline will force Hashi to store most of what he has in a rental storage unit, but he said he cannot move quickly enough to store it all. He added that several owners, especially those with restaurants with large ovens and heavy equipment, won't be able to move all of their stuff in the next two days.

Thats a lot to move.
That's a lot to move. Courtesy Photo

"Most of them told me they’re going to leave their stuff there. A lot of them will leave stuff behind," Hashi said of the other owners. "And then they'll be out of business. They’ll be on the street."

Organizers are planning a rally in front of SeaTac Market on Friday at 11 a.m. to protest the city's move. If you're in Seattle and want to protest a Trumpian council displacing dozens of immigrant businesses, just take the light rail to Tukwila International Boulevard Station and walk across the street. While you're down there, consider knocking doors for some of these candidates, who are working to flip the council.