Medford, Ore. — The City of Medford is working to clean up neighborhoods by addressing vacant “problem properties.” This week, the City Council approved four more houses to go through the receivership process.
It’s a program not only supported by the City, but residents as well.
“It’s been empty for the last couple… two, three years,” Tom Moore said of the house on Springbrook road.
Moore and his wife watched the house on Springbrook road, across from North Medford High School deteriorate. It first became apparent to them five years ago.
“We noticed a lot of activity,” Moore said. “Kids from the high school coming over with backpacks, and a lot of traffic.”
Now years later, Moore noted it’s gotten even worse.
“There’s a lot of rats over there, a lot of feces over there,” Moore said. “It’s just a problem child.”
The City of Medford sees the property the same way.
“We have a number, of what Portland likes the term, is ‘zombie houses’ in town,” Medford City Manager Brian Sjothun said. “Boarded up houses where we’re having a lot of issues.”
Sjothun was present for Tursday’s City Council meeting, where the four houses were selected from a list of known problem properties. With the council’s approval in place, the owners of all four will be notified of the receivership program. According to Sjothun, the process isn’t too complicated.
“Meeting with our Building Department and Code Enforcement and coming up with a plan on how they are going to make the improvements to the houses, in order to either get people back living in them, or to sell them, or something to where they’re not blighted anymore,” Sjothun said.
If they don’t respond or fix up the properties in time, the City can then take the reins.
“We would look to partner with non-profits such as Habitat for Humanity, Access, and other groups that would be eligible to receive these houses, fix them up, and get them back habitable again,” Sjothun said.
To learn more about the houses selected, including police calls for service, click here.
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