Editor,

The recent article about the closing of Riverview Park because of deficiencies is inaccurate. The Riverview Park is just about in its 80th year and is the oldest park which was constructed to house construction workers for Parker Dam in 1938. Over the years, there have been many managers who have worked in the park. As the manager over the last seven years, I have battled an aging park and have not once neglected issues brought forward to management.

I understand how devastated tenants must feel. On the other hand, as prospective tenants came through the office, we warned them that the park was on Tribal land, the lease was up in August 2019 and we didn’t know what would happen when that took place.

There are statements made by Heidi Becker in the Pioneer which are false. She has no clue what she is talking about. The Beckers saw an opportunity to purchase a park model on the waterfront for a very low price. The Beckers did everything they could to go around the office to make the purchase. They were warned when they came into the park about the lease expiring in August 2019.

Over the past seven years, we have had numerous inspections by Tribal agencies like Building & Safety, EPO and others. There are no written documents where the Tribe specifically requested replacement of infrastructure.

I would like to note that a very large percentage of mobile homes in Riverview Park are over 60 years old with tenants who failed to properly upgrade and maintain these mobile homes. I have responded to several calls over the years where tenants complained about water or sewer problems and I found the problem to be in the mobile home.

The age of the park mobiles is another determining factor about closing the park. No one wants to look logically at that aspect of it.

Tenants have had the run of the park for years at a very reasonable monthly rate and that has come to an end. Did they think that was supposed to go on forever? The Tribes have every right to change circumstances of leased property. It’s their land.

With the age of the park, a redevelopment of the park should be considered, but not closing the park. New infrastructure could be placed and sectioned out. It would take time, but it would work.

There was never any mention of the park closing to the managers or the previous lease holders. This was a complete surprise. There has been mention of a class action lawsuit against the Tribes and previous lease holders, but this is a change of circumstances by ownership. It’s that simple. People can fabricate all the stories they want, but the bottom line is this was a business decision that had to be made. Right, wrong or indifferent, any good business person would’ve considered this.

The Beckers were disappointed because the Tribes would not hire them to manage the park after I was relieved of my duties by CRIT.

I understand how disturbing this event has been, but I have no power to stop it. I would suggest going to the source and knowing the facts before making ridiculous statements in town.

I also would like to note the fact that the lease holders/owners attempted over a three-year period for a lease extension with CRIT Realty. The lease extension proposed several upgrades over a five-year period plus a substantial revenue increase offered to the Tribes. A redevelopment plan was offered and numerous phone calls made by the owners with not response from the Tribes.

We are sincerely sorry that so many people are affected by the park’s closure, as we were friends of many of the tenants. I hope everyone will be able to find suitable and affordable housing.

John Thomas

Former Manager, Riverview Mobile Home & RV Park

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