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Oasis Mobile Home Park faces lawsuit for unsafe and unhealthy living conditions for residents

Residents at the Oasis Mobile Home Park on the Torres Martinez Tribe lands near Thermal have had continuous issues with contaminated water at the park. This is a community of hundreds of people, including families, elderly, children, and essential workers.

"We continue to live with water that is very dirty. It comes out yellow," said one resident who wished to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal.

On Aug. 27, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency issued an emergency order at the Oasis Mobile Home Park after finding high levels of arsenic in the park’s public water system. According to the EPA, Arsenic has been linked to numerous kinds of cancers.

On January 27th, 2021, a lawsuit was filed by over 20 residents against the landlord, Scott Lawson, of Oasis Mobile Home Park and Sabrina Lawson based on unsafe and unhealthy living conditions as well as fraudulent misinterpretation from Park ownership. The lawsuit was placed by the nonprofit advocacy organization Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability. Twenty causes of action are represented in the lawsuit.

High contamination levels of drinking water at the Park is the main concern for residents. Sewage disposal, claimed in the lawsuit, is inadequate and improperly maintained causing sewage to pool and cesspools to form throughout the park. Electricity and water shutoffs are said to be common for residents. The lawsuit also targets unpaved streets, water pipes bursting, wild dogs roaming unchecked throughout the Park, accumulation of trash in common areas and unpermitted onsite garbage dumps.

Michael Claiborne is the directing attorney on the lawsuit filed against Oasis Mobile Home Park. “The issues related to arsenic contamination, although arsenic is naturally occurring, are really related to negligent management of this water system by ownership of the park,” said Claiborne.

The lawsuit claims residents are facing retaliation from the landlord with hikes in rent and are threatened with eviction. “They’re told if they don’t like it, they can just leave,” said water policy coordinator for the eastern Coachella Valley, Nataly Escobedo Garcia.

With the lack of paved roads, it can cause major flooding. “People have difficulties getting out of the park, especially those farther back in the park. Which unfortunately results in children sometimes not being able to go to school because they are unable to walk their way through to catch the bus,” said Garcia.

“Step up, take responsibility for your actions, resolve the issues at the park and make residents whole for the conditions they’ve been forced to deal with,” was Claiborne's message to the landlord.

With this lawsuit, we are told residents are looking to hold the owner of the park accountable for his actions. “Made whole for the conditions that they’ve been forced to deal with that nobody should be forced to deal with,” added Claiborne. The second aspect residents are looking to accomplish is having federal and state representatives secure funding to construct affordable housing in the area so residents can relocate from the park. “They believe the park should be shut down. They don’t trust that ownership of the park is going to take this responsibility to improve conditions of the park,” added Claiborne.

Residents and those working with the lawsuit understand this is not something that is going to happen overnight but they are filing with urgency.

This issue doesn't stand alone. “So long as the county doesn’t make great efforts to invest in affordable housing, we are going to continue to see situations like this,” said Garcia.

News Channel 3's Taban Sharifi will have more details tonight at 6 p.m. on this lawsuit and the outcome residents are looking for.

You can reach Taban on Twitter, Facebook, and at

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Taban Sharifi

Taban Sharifi is a Meteorologist and Reporter with KESQ News Channel 3, The Desert’s News & Weather Leader. Learn more about Taban here.


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