Man facing eviction found dead

OLYMPIA - A troublesome tenant who was to be evicted from the downtown Olympian Apartments on Friday morning instead was found dead in his third-floor unit as police arrived to remove him.

Interim apartment manager Ann Drake said she could not comment on the man or the reason for his eviction.

Fellow tenants and employees of nearby businesses said the man sometimes frightened them because he was mentally unstable.

"He was verbally abusive," said Jacquelyn Wright, owner of a salon and day spa on the ground floor of the apartments at 519 Washington St. S.E.

"It seemed like he was just liable to explode at any minute."

The man disturbed neighbors and was responsible for property damage, resident Ricky Johansen said.

"He used to go through these rants at night," Johansen said. "He loitered in the hallways and on the street in front of the building. He broke doors down."

The man's name was being withheld pending the determination of what caused his death, Deputy Coroner Gary Warnock said. There were no signs of foul play, Warnock said.

The death was the latest in a series of troubles for the former hotel, built in 1919. These days, the 50 apartments serve low-income seniors age 62 and older and younger residents with physical or mental handicaps, Drake said.

The Bremerton Housing Authority administers a rent subsidy program at the apartments while a Bellevue company, United Marketing, manages and maintains the building. Bremerton administers the federally subsidized housing program for several other counties, including Thurston.

More than 40 residents temporarily were moved out after the Nisqually Earthquake struck South Sound in 2001.

Two years ago, 66-year-old resident Rose Paddock died in a fire when she fell asleep while a candle burned and set her room ablaze.

As they awaited the dead man's planned eviction on Thursday, a few residents milled outside the building and complained about living conditions there.

One of the tenants had been setting off false fire alarms, sometimes two and three times a week, they said. Neighbors are noisy and occasionally become unruly, kicking in doors, they said.

Others live for free with low-income tenants who rent with the help of federal Housing and Urban Development Department subsidies, they said.

"I always tell everybody that you go to sleep with one eye open and one ear open and not necessarily on the same side of your head," said renter Ron Stearns, 75.

Drake doesn't try to sugarcoat life there.

"We are trying to address all the issues," she said. "There have been quite a few switches in management."

The mixture of older and younger tenants sometimes doesn't work well, she said. Seniors like it quiet, and younger tenants sometimes turn up their music, she said.

The residents' latest complaint involves a stairwell along the building's northern wall. Window openings along the wall used to be covered with screens to keep birds from flying inside the building.

But some of the screens are damaged or missing, so birds fly in and out, leaving their droppings behind.

A fire department inspector and a city building code inspector said the missing screens are not a building code violation.

"It is not required to have screens on windows," said Georgia Sabol, a city code enforcement officer. "The screens keep the birds from flying in. I'm still kind of just trying to get the owners to do something about it."

The owner is addressing the missing screens, said Tom Anderson, president of United Marketing.

"We've called Olympia Glass to rescreen it," he said. "The tenants knock them out all the time. It's a maintenance headache."

The screens should be replaced within 10 days, Anderson estimated.