After five months of negotiations, CASA Latina has struck a deal with community groups concerned about the organization and its day labor program’s planned move from downtown Seattle to the Central District.
One of the top stipulations of the “good neighbor agreement” approved last week by eight neighborhood groups is that CASA will use no temporary structures, such as trailers or portable toilets, during the construction of a new labor hall that the nonprofit plans at 17th Ave. and Jackson St. CASA won’t even move until late 2008, after the hall is built next to a small office building the nonprofit bought in March and plans to renovate.
Unlike the current location on Western Ave. at Bell St., workers will remain inside the labor hall — employers won’t be allowed to pick up laborers from the street. To see that non-affiliated workers don’t try to thumb a job or create trouble, the agency has also agreed to hire an “ambassador” to patrol nearby streets. It will also form a neighborhood advisory committee to resolve any problems and monitor traffic and crime data.
If that weren’t enough, the agreement also stipulates that CASA will set aside a reserve of $50,000 — roughly a third of its annual funding from the city — to make sure the requirements of the agreement are met. If they aren’t, the city could pull its funding.
CASA Latina Executive Director Hilary Stern said a few community members remain unsatisfied, but they are definitely in the minority. “We got overwhelming support” for the agreement, Stern says. “I was really pleased that the neighbors stuck with it.”