City council to decide whether Seattle Indian Center must move
The Seattle City Council will decide the fate of the Leschi Center at a meeting at 2 p.m. on Dec. 9 at City Hall.
The Leschi Center, a two-story, tan-and-aqua adobe building at 611 12th Ave. S., has been home to the Seattle Indian Center and the Seattle Indian Health Board since the 1980s.
The Seattle Indian Services Commission owns the building, but cannot afford to maintain it and has proposed selling the property to the Indian Health Board.
However, the sale would require that the Seattle Indian Center leave the building. The city council has to approve the sale.
The Indian Center operates a meal program, shelter for 60 people and hygiene center in the building. The Indian Health Board provides medical care for 7,000 people.
The council’s Housing and Human Services Committee forwarded the decision to full council Nov. 26 without recommendation. Councilmember Bruce Harrell said he wants more time to craft legislation that transfers the property, but also includes funding to help relocate the Seattle Indian Center to maintain its services.
“I want it to be part of a package that I can guarantee to the community,” Harrell said.
The decision comes after years of debate about what to do with the Leschi Center and the Pearl Warren Building, across the street at 606 12th Ave. S.
The Pearl Warren Building is in disrepair and will likely be sold to an outside buyer later.
The Seattle Indian Services Commission failed as a landlord. The Indian Center owes the commission more than $100,000 in back rent. On top of this, a former commission administrator used the organization’s funds to pay off personal debts, according to a 2011 audit by the Washington State Attorney General.
The Indian Health Board has agreed to take over the Leschi Center, but would need the entire property for its organization.
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