The yard sale had already ended by the time Lynn Sereda made her way up the stairs of the old Central District house. But she hadn't come to pick over the belongings of the residents moving out. She had come to say goodbye.
"This is depressing," Sereda said as she reached the porch and a front door open on shelves upon shelves of books.
"Yeah," a bushy-haired young man at the door said. "It's the end of an era."
For more than 30 years, the house at 1643 S. King St. and a rental cottage behind it were a communal home to social and political activists who broke bread together over the issues of the day, news of their travels, their work or their next campaign -- be it fixing bikes, fighting domestic violence or demanding Palestinian justice.
But for all those years and all that history, the King Street Collective's residents were only renters. In May, the house was sold, forcing its seven residents out June 30 in what some call a dirty deal that cut them out of buying the property.
On June 20, residents held a yard sale and farewell get-together for fellow activists like Sereda who have come to King Street over the years for events or fundraisers -- in Sereda's case, for meetings of the Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites. The first that anyone knew of the house being up for sale, three-year resident Jeremy Louzao says, was when the landlord said in April that he would start showing it.
The residents, he says, weren't notified beforehand. By the time three of them got approved for a loan, a couple had already made an offer on the house, putting them second in line. Even though the couple later had a problem with their financing, Louzao says, the selling agent worked the deal against the house's residents.
Even though they offered half down and the owner wanted to sell to them, Louzao says, the agent told him that he didn't believe they were serious -- that their offer on the home, which is set to close for $400,000, was merely a ruse to buy time to move out.
"One of the hardest things about being evicted is that we really care about this house and wanted to stay," says Louzao, who works for the Young Person's Project, a youth-led social justice organization in the Central District.
Near him in the backyard stands a mini-wetland that residents planted to filter and reuse the house's sink and shower water in the garden