12/22/2014

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KATU Investigators

City tells property owner to clean up or get out

City tells property owner to clean up or get out

PORTLAND, Ore. – There are so many cars and vans parked in front of and on a Southeast Portland property it's hard to see the front yard.

A look closer of the vehicles shows rust and dirt building up on them, evidence that most of them haven't moved in a long, long time.

It's so bad the city of Portland has told the property owner to clean up or get out.

"It’s just an eyesore. It's kind of a – it's just a big mess," says Angela, who lives nearby.

She says complaints from neighbors about conditions on the property date back more than a decade. The city has had some of the cars towed away.

"They return. Year after year, they just continually return. And they stay," says Angela. "They've been towed and brought back and towed and brought back."

After years of complaints, in August 2012, the city's Bureau of Development Services started a final process to convince owner Mark Wilson to clean up or face an order to get off his own property.

Wilson plans to get all the cars and vans running someday.

"I'm working on it daily, every time I have a day off," he says. "I work 12-hour shifts right now making like half the money I used to make in my former job after I got laid off."

Wilson says he moved the cars and vans out front because the city didn't want them parked in his backyard.

A city hearings officer has already decided Wilson's had two violations of a cleanup agreement with the Bureau of Development services. One more violation and the city says it will board up his home and keep him from living there until he cleans and fixes it up.

Reporter Bob Heye started looking into this after we got a news tip. If you have a story for the On Your Side Investigators, email them at investigators@katu.com.

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