Medford could take possession of problem houses

Medford, Ore. — The Medford City Council is one step closer to allowing the City to take control of problem homes. It’s an issue that’s been long talked about, but now the ball is rolling, and homeowners, or lien holders, will be asked to step up to the plate. All of the properties are in violation of a number of different ordinances, and while the goal is to get the neighborhoods cleaned up, it’s also to reduce crime.

“I walk around probably everyday,” Rachel Beals said.

Beals works in East Medford, and during her lunch breaks, she keeps her eyes open for places to rent nearby. She’s noticed 911 Queen Anne avenue before.

“It just seems like it could be useful to someone, a house just sitting there,” Beals said.

But Medford Police Sergeant Don Lane says it’s in violation of a number of city codes.

“If you have a housing code violation, that makes it a hazard to live at a house, then you have to fix that hazard, or you have to move out,” Lane said.

Because it’s been vacant for years, it’s become a problem for the City, Code Enforcement, and the Medford Police Department.

“People that were wanted for crimes, have warrants for their arrest, drug activity, drug arrests were made out here,” Lane said. “There’s also disruption to the neighborhood, because of the number of people that would come in at all hours of the night.”

Sergeant Lane says a solution could soon be in sight. On Thursday, the City Council voted to send out letters regarding five problem properties. It’ll be asking homeowners and lien holders to respond within 60 days, with a plan to fix the problems. If not, the city could step in.

“We could go through a legal process, and take possession of the house, and either rehabilitate it, or basically fix the problems that are occurring,” Lane said.

At this time, there is no set timeline for when all the changes and corrections need to be made. Instead, the City is asking that the homeowners work with them on their own plans.

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