Once isn't enough to clean up S.E. Portland nuisance home

Once isn't enough to clean up S.E. Portland nuisance home »Play Video
The city of Portland cleaned up this home once before but six months later the mess returned.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Just six months after the city came out to clean up a Southeast Portland home filled to the brim with piles and piles of trash, the city was back to the house again Tuesday.

A normal nuisance home has three complaints in 30 days, but police have responded to this home 50 times in two years.

Police have arrested one of the men who lived at the home, accusing him of a burglary in Umatilla. Additionally, they said he choked an officer earlier this year. And on Tuesday, police said they found crystal meth on him.

The city isn't even sure how many people live at the home. It says many are living there illegally.

As for the trash, the city first cleaned up the property in April. But the junk returned within six months.

City contractors spent the whole day Tuesday clearing it away.

A KATU News reporter spoke with one of the men who said he lives at the property. But he wouldn't give his name or a straight answer.

According to the city, the owner of the property is in bankruptcy and doesn't live at the home; instead, she rents it out to a bunch of people.

KATU News is still trying to track the owner down.

Why has it taken the city two times, and at least $5,000, to clean the place up? In short, the city says clearing the property is a cumbersome process.

"I think there's a complicated story to the ownership issue here," said Mike Liefeld, the compliance and inspections manager at the Bureau of Development Services, to a question as to why cleaning the property up the first time wasn't enough.

The home's owner has changed hands, complicating an already long process.

Liefeld said he's not confident that cleaning up the property the second time will be the last time "when looking at this case, with finding out everything that’s going on."

The city is now trying to get a legal order to kick the people off the property and board it up. That too is a process. But Liefeld said that's the only way to solve the mess once and for all.

The city says it will ask for a vacate order to get everyone off of the property in the next two weeks. But getting an approval for that order could take months.

If there's a story you think our investigators should dig into, we want to hear from you. Email investigators@katu.com.