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City of Seattle
Gregory J. Nickels (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: Three houses to be trucked down MLK at 3 a.m.

5/18/2006  2:00:00 PM
Todd Burley  (206) 684-5081

Three houses to be trucked down MLK at 3 a.m.

May 21 house relocation keeps demolition debris from landfills and creates affordable homeownership opportunities for families

SEATTLE – A very unique and very "green" approach to increasing homeownership opportunities in Seattle is taking place in the wee hours of the morning May 21, 2006. While many are sleeping, three City-owned houses, once set for demolition, will be driven down Martin Luther King Jr. Way, to their future as affordable housing for families in need.

"If you work in Seattle, you should be able to afford to live in Seattle," said Mayor Greg Nickels. "By moving these houses and building partnerships we give families a chance to own a home and we save three houses from the landfill."

The three relocated homes will be rehabilitated by Habitat for Humanity of Seattle/South King County. The City will transfer ownership of the homes, at no cost, to Habitat for Humanity and transfer ownership of the land, at no cost, to HomeStead Community Land Trust. With the land maintained forever in a trust the homes will be affordable to all subsequent purchasers for 99 years. The Office of Housing’s HomeWise program will also help, contributing $10,000 per house to pay for health, safety and energy conservation repairs.

"We can’t compartmentalize issues, addressing the City’s affordable housing needs and environmental stewardship separately," said Office of Housing Director Adrienne Quinn. "Since the City first began thinking about a pilot program for moving and rehabilitating homes for affordable housing the goals were to create long-term affordable homeownership opportunities, recycle houses slated for demolition and preserve the character of our community by saving some of the small houses that have been part of Seattle for decades."

Habitat for Humanity of Seattle/South King County will match families with the homes. The City is working hand-in-hand with Habitat on a total of six homes, to be built or rehabilitated on City land in Southeast Seattle, but this is the only effort thus far to actually move houses as part of City’s affordable housing goals.

"These three transplanted cottages reflect an extraordinary collaboration," said Dorothy Bullitt, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Seattle/South King County. "By binding together in this joint public/private/not-for-profit effort we will restore homes otherwise destined for the landfill; preserve low income housing stock in a gentrifying market; and improve the lives of several low-income families currently living in sub-standard housing."

To make the idea a reality the City of Seattle Office of Housing worked with multiple City departments, including the Department of Planning and Development, Seattle Public Utilities, Fleets and Facilities, Seattle Department of Transportation and others. Besides the work with Habitat and HomeStead, partnerships were also built with House to Home and then Nickel Bros., an experienced house moving and preserving company, to arrange for the rather unusual three-house convoy.

"This may be the first time a city has done something like this," said Quinn. "Houses have long-been moved and preserved successfully, but saving and relocating homes destined for demolition, to serve as affordable housing, is unique."

Jeff McCord of House to Home, who has moved numerous homes throughout the city, consulted on the project and brought in Nickel Bros. House Moving Ltd. to assist.

"Nickel Bros. House Moving was happy to become involved in the Habitat-City of Seattle house move project, and went so far as to reduce their normal move costs for the house moves by $3000.00 per house, for a total of $9000.00 donation to Habitat for Humanity," said McCord.

Time: House move begins at about 3 a.m. Three-house convoy expected to be at the corner of MLK and Dearborn sometime after 5 a.m.
Start: 118 -138 30th Avenue East (move preparations here May 18-19)
End: 910 and 918 26th Avenue South

Editors: OPPORTUNITIES FOR VIDEO/SOUND/PHOTOS MAY 18/Thursday & May 19/Friday:

From 8am to 4pm movers are getting homes up off their foundations, slinging supports to "hang" the houses from (to stay low to the ground to avoid wires) and loading the homes for the move.

FYI, to receive any of the following, please contact LeAnne Nelson (423-5292 or

  • High resolution digital photographs of the move
  • Video of the move (to be shot at tail end of move Sunday morning)
  • High resolution digital photographs of the homes before loading/move
  • Diagram showing how houses will be placed on the destination property
  • Contact numbers for interviews

Statistics of note:

  • 8,000 pounds, or four tons, of waste are typically thrown into a landfill during the construction of a 2,000 square foot home. i
  • Lumber accounts for a larger share of the cost of a home than any of the other materials used by home builders. ii
  • 136 million tons of building-related construction and demolition debris are generated every year, on average, in the United States. iii

Get the mayor’s inside view on initiatives to promote transportation, public safety, economic opportunity and healthy communities by signing up for The Nickels Newsletter at

i. Sustainable Building Sourcebook web version copyright Sustainable Sources ( 1994-2006
ii. National Association of Home Builders
iii. Characterization Of Building-Related Construction And Demolition Debris In The United States, prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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Office of Housing

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