Residents in Jeffers Garden hope the auction of a property on G Road that one described as a “community of destruction” will improve the neighborhood.
Clatsop County foreclosed on the property because of unpaid taxes and hired a firm to clean up garbage and other debris. But there is still deferred maintenance to the home, including cracks in the foundation, sloping floors and dry rot.
James Neikes, who owns property next door to the “purple house” on G Road, said it became known as a drug house where sheriff’s deputies were routinely called about complaints.
“It was beyond a nightmare,” he said. “There were 10 or 12 people living there and they never had water or sewer for over two years and they were dumping their sewage and everything else into my properties. They actually had garden hoses tapped into the natural gas main and they were feeding their trailers with garden hoses filled with liquid natural gas.”
He called the people who used to live there a “community of destruction.”
“I moved a trailer in next door and we were setting it up and they were stealing everything faster than we could set it up,” Neikes said. “The day I had the power turned on to the trailer, they had hooked an extension cord to an outlet. They had it leading over to the house and they were drawing so much power that the extension cord was actually melting.”
Christina Tucker, who owns a home down the street, said there has been no commotion since the county foreclosed on the property.
“The rest of the road is fine,” she said. “It was just that house that was the black sheep of the road.”
Tucker said she and her husband considered selling their home because of the frequent foot traffic past her house to the purple house, especially as they began to plan for their newborn daughter.
She said people who lived in the purple house stole things from her property and ran through her yard while fleeing sheriff’s deputies.
“It was one of those moments where it’s like, ‘I don’t want to live in this neighborhood,’” Tucker said. “You tell people, ‘Oh yeah, I live in Jeffers Garden,’ and people automatically think Jeffers Garden is shady.”
The foreclosure process in Oregon is lengthy. After four years of not paying property taxes, properties go to judgment and owners have a two-year redemption period. If it hasn’t been redeemed in two years, then the county takes deed.
Sirpa Duoos, a county property management specialist, said the county rarely takes homes where people are living. The county tries to give property owners options to help pay the taxes so people don’t become displaced.
However, given the circumstances on G Road, the county was able to expedite foreclosure.
“I’m glad, and I think the rest of the neighborhood is glad,” Duoos said. “I really hope they never come back. I hope that the house gets turned into something good.”
County commissioners voted in June to put five foreclosed properties, including the one on G Road, up for auction. The auction will be held at 10 a.m. on July 23 at the Judge Guy Boyington Building in Astoria.
“In the last few years, we have seen great improvement to the ones we have sold and we are very happy with that,” Duoos said.