BUTTE - Many residents of the low-income apartment complex in Butte have anxiety about their future after the board of directors fired the local management and replaced them with a Missoula-based company.
“We are not being represented by our board of directors. I feel that our interests are not being taken into consideration,” said Legion Oasis resident Michelle Suttey.
The Legion Oasis is a 160-unit complex overseen by the American Legion for the past 50 years. The board recently fired local management and hired BlueLine Property Management of Missoula to run the complex.
Tenants fear rent will increase, and they will lose the personal service they’ve come to expect.
“A property management company is going to come in for a paycheck and they’re going to displace Butte income with an out-of-town income. Why?,” said Suttey.
Several tenants protested outside the American Legion hall claiming the directors didn’t consider them in their decision making. Butte Commissioner Jim Fisher supports the tenants.
“It’s been a really well cared for facility and why would you want to fix something that isn’t broke,” said Fisher.
Board President Mike Lawson said this was a business decision made for the betterment of the apartment complex.
“I think it was a good decision, I think the tenants, when things settle down, I think they’re going to be happy with this new management company,” said Lawson.
The board president said there will be a rent increase between $30 and $50. He points out there has not been an increase in rent in five years.
But for many of the residents, any increase in rent would be a burden.
“Well, $50 for a lot of people is a lot of many, you know, when somebody is living on social security is, you know, that’s their only income. It’s a lot of money for some people, it’s food, it’s medicine,” said Legion Oasis Office Manager Jackie Farren.