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IHS Deems Living Conditions Unsanitary at Trailer Park on Yakama Nation

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Although the Indian Health Service has found homes at a trailer park on the Yakama Nation in Toppenish, Washington to be unhealthy, residents told the The Yakima Herald-Republic that no one is taking action to improve things.

White Swan trailer park, located on a weed-infested lot deep within reservation boundaries, is in no-man's land, reported The Yakima Herald-Republic.

Tim Jewett, a non-tribal member, owns White Swan trailer park. Therefore his land, while within the reservation, is not under tribal authority.

Jewett pays taxes on the land to Yakima County, which has not taken any action against him. The tribe has contacted the county to request investigations at the trailer park.

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The park's more than two dozen dilapidated trailers, dating back to the 1970s, are contaminated with green-black mold. Residents are subject to sewer problems and other unsanitary conditions.

"I think that particular trailer was beyond repair," Shawn Blackshear of the IHS told The Yakima Herald-Republic of one couple's home. "The ceiling was falling in. The kitchen sink—there were efforts to repair it—but it wasn't up to code. Basically, that trailer needs to be replaced."

The landlord claims renters damage the trailers, and he can't keep up with maintenance. "They live like pigs and they don't pay rent," Jewett told The Yakima Herald-Republic, adding that he has a list of tenants who collectively owe more than $6,100.