By Wednesday morning, the last residents were on their way out of Nampa’s Rushmore Mobile Home Park in response to a city order that they vacate the park by May 31. Septic system failures that came to light earlier this year made the park uninhabitable for residents in 17 affected trailers, said officials.
Property owner Dean Leavitt, 75, said three residents asked to stay in the park Tuesday night, but he expected they would be out by the end of the day Wednesday.
Leavitt said clean-up would now begin with moving trailers off the site. The process could take weeks, he said.
According to Idaho Legal Aid, which represented residents, Leavitt provided financial compensation for residents who had to move from the park off Garrity Boulevard in north Nampa. Leavitt would not say how much he had to pay, but that he had to take a second mortgage out on his home to buy trailers of residents who were forced to move. According to Idaho Legal Aid, Leavitt bought 10 trailers. Other residents lived in homes already owned by Leavitt or moved on their own accord.
“I paid a lot. Way more than the trailers were worth,” Leavitt said.
He hopes to sell a couple of the trailers. He’ll pay for the remainders to be hauled to the dump. He’s unsure about the park’s future.
“I’m getting old. I will probably offer it for sale,” he said.
Two-thirds of the 4.5-acre park is on a septic system that is still operational and where residents still live, he said.
Howard Belodoff, associate director of Idaho Legal Aid, said he believes everyone involved with the relocation is “satisfied that the negotiations resulted in a fair resolution.”
But the Rushmore situation, though it has ended peacefully, is a microcosm of a larger problem that doesn’t always, Belodoff added — the struggles mobile home residents and other low-income renters face when they receive notice that they have to move. Moving a mobile home can cost thousands, said Belodoff. In some cases, older mobile homes don’t meet current safety standards so parks won’t allow them, even if they have space.
“Mobile home owners can’t move their homes and they can’t sell them. That’s the real issue here and it’s happening in other places all over the Valley,” said Belodoff.