Thai Xuan Village

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"I believe the structure could be okay, maybe some railings need to be fixed," he says. "But the face-lift of the property needs to be done." After a quick examination, he said the project would cost well over $100,000.

On Monday, community leaders, city officials, three Thai Xuan residents and lawyer Tran sat down to discuss the complex with the mayor. The residents agreed to meet with officials from the fire department to discuss fire safety and fire drills, according to Mayor White. Thai Xuan Village will also hire a private inspector to work with city housing officials to further examine the roof and structural, electrical and mechanical systems.

"I think it will work out," says Tran. "We just need to make sure that everyone in the neighborhood understands each other."

This past Saturday, several hundred people, residents included, went to work, repainting the complex's front gate and lines in the parking lot, and using water pressure cleaners on surfaces around the complex, says Tran. The elderly residents -- the former Vietnamese soldiers -- need to feel the community's presence, she says.

A more thorough evaluation of Thai Xuan Village should be done in six weeks, according to the mayor. If major reconstruction is required, there needs to be a financing plan, with contributions from private investors and residents. Public funding may not even be necessary, the mayor says.

Once all these things are done, the mayor says, Councilwoman Alvarado -- has she changed her mind? -- said she would organize a meeting between adjacent civic clubs and the complex's leaders.

And one, surely, big relief: Demolition was off the table, the mayor said.

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Ruth Samuelson