Eastside parents vow to fight conversion of hotel to permanent supportive housing

KIRKLAND, Wash. — Some Eastside parents are gearing up for a fight over a permanent supportive housing proposal within feet of their children’s private school.

Kirkland is the sixth King County city tapped to recommend a hotel for conversion to permanent low-income housing.

But the hotel they chose is just feet away from Eastside Preparatory School, sparking strong emotions from the students’ parents.

A La Quinta hotel, on the edge of the city of Kirkland, has become a flashpoint for parents worried about plans to convert it into permanent, low-income housing.

“Right here we’ve got Eastside Prep, right there,” said Susie Kupferman. “We’ve got another Montessori school. There’s a KinderCare right here. There’s another school right here. There’s four schools in this vicinity.”

Kupferman’s two daughters attend Eastside Prep.

“There’s not even 100-feet separation between them,” said Kupferman, of the distance between Eastside Prep and the hotel. “That scares me, as a Mom. I’m scared for the safety and security of my kids.”

“It’s my pleasure to bring a little bit of information about the help for housing program and this particular part of that program,” said Leo Flor, director of King County Department of Community and Human Services, just a few days ago.

Last week, King County and Kirkland officials held a meeting to specifically address the parents’ fears and concerns.

“If the county moves forward with this purchase,” said Kirkland Mayor Penny Sweet, at the meeting. “Your city is committed to ensuring that the site and its residents are good neighbors.”

If selected, this La Quinta hotel will be the 10th site that King County has purchased as part of its Health Through Housing initiative, including locations in Auburn and Renton.

But these Eastside Prep parents are facing a backlash as elitists who don’t want to help solve the county’s vexing homeless issue.

“I do agree that Kirkland should have or should be part of the program to help the people in need,” said parent Catalin Olteanu.

He says Eastside Prep parents care. But they want to be a part of the discussion, too.

“Let’s discuss the plan,” said Olteanu. “Let’s discuss what is important, how we address some of these community concerns.”

This is not a done deal. The mayor says there will be more opportunities for these parents to be heard.

The Eastside Prep parents say they are not giving up. They are mobilizing and planning more protests. Because they do not want the low-income housing here.