[diggers350] WTO - Squatters get housing & SHARE/WHEEL gets building use, temporarily FWD

Tom Boland wgcp at earthlink.net
Tue Dec 7 22:08:01 GMT 1999

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Are the agreements cited below the "best possible outcome"
for the WTO squatters and for Seattle's homeless people?

For photos of WTO protests, see:

For WTO Seattle protesters' reports, see:
Independent Media Center
FWD  Independent Media Center - 12:30pm Tue Dec 7 1999
     [Seattle, WA, USA]


     After a successful building take-over on Sunday
     November 28th by anarchists, "The Squat" at 914
     Virginia Ave, housed activists all week who were in
     town to protest the WTO. After six days a deal was
     made with the owner and all the squatters left without

     by SCOTT WINN

After a successful building takeover on November 28th by anarchists, "The
Squat" at 914 Virginia Avenue provided housing all week for a group of
activists in town to protest the WTO. As many as a hundred people slept in
the makeshift home each night.

Despite the City's decision to shut-off electricity and water on the first
night, the squatters prepared communal meals, had strategy meetings to plan
for negotiations with the building's owner, and participated in the larger
WTO protests. After six days, a deal was negotiated with the owner, and all
of the squatters departed without incident.

Much to the disappointment of building owner Wah Lui, no arrests were made.

The squatters were subsequently provided with housing by the Low Income
Housing Institute (LIHI) at the Julie Apartments, in downtown Seattle.

"So we had this noon deadline by the police to get out. Around the corner
were Metro vans filled with what looked like a hundred cops in riot gear,"
recalled takeover participant Grimes on Saturday. "Then all of a sudden
Sharon (Lee, Director of LIHI) and Bob (Santos, Regional Director of HUD)
came running up and said that a deal had been made."

The squatters had worked hard to ensure that the building would remain
available for homeless and low-income citizens after their departure.

In the end, it was agreed that SHARE/WHEEL, an organization of homeless
women and men, would be able to use the building for an unspecified amount
of time as a temporary and emergency shelter. Santos said that some HUD
money might be available to support the project.

Negotiations were also begun regarding LIHI's purchase of another Lui
property, the Park Seneca Apartments in downtown Seattle, for conversion
into mutual housing. Almost immediately after this deal was confirmed, Lui
rescinded the agreement.

Throughout the week Lui had displayed this sort of instability repeated,
making decisions and then changing his mind. He had professed support for
aspects of the squatters' protest, and then confiscated their
battery-powered lamps and stated his hope that they would be killed in a
confrontation with police.

Lui was angry that no arrests were made, and demanded that the squatters be
punished. He threatened to go to the Julie Apartments to try and arrest
people himself. He was told by LIHI that he was not to enter the premises.
Finally, fearing a confrontation with Lui, the police were called regarding
filing a complaint against Lui.

"He (Lui) has actually shown a bit of sympathy to the causes we're working
on," Grimes said. "What we have a problem with is the system that all these
people participate in, where a few control some pretty valuable resources
while there are others that have fucking nothing." - scott winn



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