OREGON CITY, Ore. – The family of two girls murdered more than a decade ago are raising concerns about a new plan to rebuild on the property where their loved ones were murdered and secretly buried.
Police later found the remains of Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis beneath a concrete slab where homeowner Ward Weaver buried them.
He was sentenced to life in prison. His house was torn down weeks later.
Plans are in the works to build an apartment complex on the property. But they're not just any apartments. They would be specifically for people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction – people who have completed a rehab program and have stayed sober at least two months.
Clackamas County, along with the Portland nonprofit, Central City Concern, want to finance the plan if the state also approves millions of dollars in funding. But that is not what some of the victims' family wants for their loved ones' legacy.
Though it's been more than a decade since Weaver murdered the girls and then hid their bodies in the ground on land along South Beavercreek Road, the land is still up for sale and still empty.
Karin Nelson, who lives nearby, walks by the lot every day and explains to her children there's no reason to fear it.
"The best way to deal with something negative is to turn it into something positive," she said.
That's what she felt the new housing plan will do for the property.
"This location is very useful for people trying to get back on their feet again, because it's so close to the college, the Chamber of Commerce, the bus lines – it's just central to everything they need," she said.
But Miranda Gaddis' sister, Miriah, who stills lives nearby, and who still comes back to the property to put up little memorials by the tree, doesn't like the idea.
"To us it's a low blow with the fact that the girls grew up with drugs and alcohol in and out of the home and were always placed second to drugs and/or alcohol," she said.
Miriah is all for something else to be built on the property – a recreation center for other children, perhaps, but not what's proposed.
"So in our hearts it doesn't feel (it's) doing the girls justice at all or letting their memory live on in a positive way," she said.
And with that, neighbor Karin Nelson changed her mind about the plan that could start by this time next year. If Miriah has an issue with it, then Nelson said maybe the project shouldn't happen.
"Their suffering and their loss of their loved ones, is absolutely the most important thing to be respected and honored," she said.
Miriah Gaddis and a couple other family members discussed the development plan Friday with Central City Concern.
The nonprofit housing agency didn't want to comment to KATU News about it.
It should be known by the end of November if the project gets the state funding approval it needs.
Anna Canzano's investigation marking 10 years since the murders of the Oregon City girls won an Emmy award this year in the "Crime Reporting" category.
It uncovered new information about why Ward Weaver may have killed Miranda Gaddis as shared by Miranda's sister.
You can see that report here: 10 years later, woman sheds light on why sister killed by Ward Weaver