Saving homes from the wrecking ball


Saving homes from the wrecking ball

Jeff Humphrey, Director of Media, 509.625.6308

Wednesday, October 26, 2022 at 2:24 p.m.

It’s been so long since someone lived in a house on Spokane’s North Nettleton Street, there’s an elm tree growing through the former resident’s motorcycle.

“It has been a harmful property for some time. There have been junk vehicles here for many, many years. Obviously vegetation is a fire hazard and obstructs the right of way,” explained Jason Ruffing, City of Spokane Code Enforcement.

So now, since the owner has simply abandoned the house, leaving neighbors living next door to a dangerous horror, the City of Spokane is going to court to take control of the problem.

“Where there is no compliance, we can route the appropriate cases through the Superior Court process, have a receiver appointed, which then facilitates the reduction of the property and ultimately the sale,” Ruffing added.

After the abandoned cars in the front yard were towed away, code enforcement crews removed years of accumulated solid waste.

“The house was in very poor condition. It was a magnet, for a time, for thieves and people who had access to the property,” said Tim Fischer, attorney and receiver of the property.

Fischer was tasked with reducing nuisances and preparing the house for the real estate market instead of demolition.

“It’s a two-pronged approach recognizing that first, the housing stock in Spokane is low, but also that housing should be used productively and neighbors should not be harmed by a property that has ongoing issues,” Fischer said.

Now that the house is sold, the City of Spokane will be reimbursed for the cost of nuisance abatement.

The new owner has already received permits for window and roof replacement projects.

In the meantime, nearby residents are relieved that the city’s code enforcement team is helping bring this once-neglected property back to life.

“Yeah, I didn’t know the city was dealing with it. I thought it was the owners returning, but that’s how (since) we moved here three years ago. We didn’t know who was cleaning it and we’re glad it’s being cleaned,” said neighbor Austin Hiatt.

In the past, a dilapidated residence, such as that of Nettleton, could have been demolished. But in 2021, the city council passed a new law allowing Spokane to put harmful properties into receivership in hopes of creating more housing opportunities for our residents.

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