Yakima County officials have ordered the owner of a White Swan trailer park to correct violations that have resulted in substandard living conditions or face possible criminal and civil charges.
Yakima County officials this past week issued owner Tim Jewett the 10-page order outlining several problems at his trailer park at 3021 Signal Peak Road, including leaky roofs, rotted floors, plumbing and electrical hazards as well as defective smoke detectors, furnaces and ventilation fans.
Jewett, 74, will have 30 days from the day the order was issued to make the fixes in his 31-unit trailer park, and he will have to obtain permits for all work from the state Department of Labor & Industries, which has authority over mobile homes and trailers.
If he does not make the fixes, he could face possible criminal and civil penalties in Yakima County Superior Court.
Phone calls to Jewett were not answered.
The county's order was brought on by a state Department of Labor and Industries investigation that documented the problems in a 75-page report.
L&I investigated the park after tenant Edna Yoke invited the Yakima Herald-Republic to look at her trailer, where a bathtub had fallen through a rotted floor and electrical wires and an outlet were exposed. Severe mold also was visible throughout the home.
The subsequent story prompted Yakima County code enforcement officers to inspect some of the trailers and eventually ask L&I to investigate.
About one-third of the trailers in the park situated deep on the reservation are rented, mostly to Yakama tribal members.
Yoke was evicted after the story was published. Jewett said she was evicted for being behind on rent.
Yakama Indian Health Service officials also visited the park and described Yoke's trailer as unlivable and in violation of "life safety codes."
In an August interview, Jewett blamed tenants for the problems, saying they were trashing his trailers faster than he can fix them. He also complained that many tenants weren't paying their rent, making it difficult for him to pay for repairs.
At first, the trailer park, which is taxed by the county, appeared to fall in a regulatory no-man's land. County officials initially said the park fell under the Yakama Nation's authority.
But tribal officials said they lacked jurisdiction because the park is on deeded land and Jewett isn't Native American.