Chronic Nuisance Ordinance Advances

Grants Pass, Ore. — The Grants Pass City Council is considering an ordinance which would hold business owners and landlords more accountable.

Police say it’s a drain on resources and an annoyance for residents when the same properties require response from law enforcement, but a proposed ordinance aimed at addressing chronic nuisance issues may encourage home and business owners to make sure police aren’t called in the first place.

“This is a way to speed that up so we can take action,” Grants Pass Chief Bill Landis said.

Whether it’s a drug house, or a business that’s out of control, Landis says chronic nuisance properties aren’t new.

“We’ve spent six months to a year sometimes trying to go there many times and take action,” Landis said.

However, a proposed ordinance may change that.

“After so many violations or offenses whether criminal or violations of the municipal code for the city to file suit against the owners of the property,” Landis said.

Police say that if the ordinance were to be put in place, it might encourage property owners to be more proactive so issues don’t continue to escalate like they did at the Red Rock Lounge.

“Eventually even a homicide finally occurred after many times and attempts to intervene, so these are the things that would cost those owners money to basically have to think about doing something sooner,” Landis said.

As proposed, a property would be considered a chronic nuisance if there are three or more violations within a 30-day period, four or more in a 90-day period and five or more within a year.

Then the city would have the ability to take legal action.

“Otherwise we just continue to spin our wheels and waste a lot of manpower to go back to those properties, recite individuals like renters or squatters or people that may not been have some legal authority on the property and so they don’t care to actually rectify or take care of,” Landis said.

The hope is that with an ordinance like this in place, property owners would get involved with removing problem tenants at homes or businesses before the city has to get involved.

A draft of the ordinance will be considered at the October 5th council meeting.


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