AG's letter halts order for people living in cars to move

A letter from the Washington state Attorney General’s Office has halted the city of Olympia’s plans to order a community of vehicle residents to relocate.

More than half of the vehicles had already left the area by Tuesday afternoon, The Olympian reported.

Tuesday was the deadline by which city officials had given vehicle residents to move. But the letter, dated Monday, said the Attorney General’s Office believes the vacate notices are a violation of Gov. Inslee’s eviction moratorium related to the coronavirus pandemic.

City officials said they will not, for now, enforce the order.

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“To allow time to evaluate the position taken by the Attorney General’s Office in its letter, the city is pausing requiring people to vacate Ensign Road, but is encouraging people to move and is providing assistance to those who choose to do so,” Assistant City Manager Keith Stahley said in an email to The Olympian.

Multiple complaints were filed about the sweep, the AG’s letter notes, including by residents themselves.

The governor’s eviction moratorium order, which was first issued in March and has been extended and modified, prohibits the serving of notices to vacate by landlords, property owners, and property managers, and prohibits local law enforcement from enforcing such orders.

It was later amended to include “less traditional dwellings” where the person has been residing for more than 14 days, and specifically includes RVs and motor homes.