The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Aleutian Village closure threat to be addressed

City officials and Aleut Corp to meet next week after eviction notices

 


City officials will be meeting with the management of the Aleut Corp next week to discuss the company's recent notice of mass evictions at Aleutian Trailer Park.

"Representative Colver arranged a meeting on Tuesday, October 6, with the Aleut Corporation and City of Valdez representatives at the corporation's Anchorage offices," the city said last week in a press release issued by Allie Hendrickson, the deputy city clerk.

The move comes after city officials and residents of Aleutian Village Trailer Park began to seek answers after the tenants of the park all received notices to vacate trailer spaces by the last day August next year.

The city's interim city manager, Robert Jean, told concerned residents a meeting with current tenants and the city would be held before and after meeting with the Aleut Corp.

There was no word from the city's public information office on the promised meetings before the Valdez Star went to press Tuesday morning, but information obtained after press time indicated that a meeting between residents and the city would not be possible before the meeting with the Aleut Corp.

"The post meeting is going to be held Friday, October 16th at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers," Lisa Von Bargen, the city's director of economic development said in an email Tuesday. "With pre-existing travel and out of town commitments it is just not possible to have a pre-meeting prior to the 6th."

The city also said it was moving forward with a planned survey of the park's residents that officials hope will provide base-line data that could be used to aid residents in future efforts to either stop the park's closure or securing funds to help residents transition to other housing in the event efforts to fight the eviction are unsuccessful.

Before the eviction notices were sent to residents two weeks ago, Jean had planned to include funding in the city's 2016 budget to begin the process of creating a Valdez Housing Authority. That process is being accelerated according to Jean.

Officials also said steps had been taken to guarantee that economic information gleaned from park residents remains confidential.

"As discussed at the September 21 council work session, the city issued a second change order to the Sheinberg & Associates contract obligating the consultant to protect the confidentiality and anonymity of survey respondents," the city said. "Survey data will only be provided in aggregate format to the city."

A number of park residents expressed a general distrust of city officials at the two meetings between the two parties, many of whom had in the past tried unsuccessfully to work with the city to resolve ongoing public safety issues in the park's infrastructure.

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