Jeff Humphrey

Saving Homes from the Wrecking Ball

Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308

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

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

“It’s been a nuisance property for some time. There’ve been junk vehicles here for many, many years. Obviously, the vegetation is a fire hazard and it’s obstructing the right of way,” explained Jason Ruffing, City of Spokane Code Enforcement.

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

“When there isn’t compliance, we can route appropriate cases though the superior court process, have a receiver appointed, which then facilitates the abatement of the property and ultimately, the sale,” Ruffing added.

After junked 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 while, for thieves and people who had access to the property,” said Tim Fischer, attorney and court-appointed receiver of the property.

Fischer was tasked with abating the nuisance and making the home ready for the real estate market instead of demolition.

“It’s a two-prong approach recognizing that one, there is low housing stock in Spokane, but also, that housing should be put to productive use and neighbors not be harmed by a property that has ongoing issues,” detailed Fischer.

Now that the home has sold, the City of Spokane will be reimbursed for the cost of abating the nuisance.

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

In the meantime, nearby residents are relieved the city’s code enforcement team is helping to revive this once neglected property.

“Yeah, I didn’t know the city was taking care of it. I thought it was the owners coming back, but it’s been like this (since) we moved here three years ago. We didn’t know who was cleaning it up and glad it’s getting cleaned up,” said neighbor Austin Hiatt.

In the past, a dilapidated residence, like the one on Nettleton, might have been torn down. But in 2021, the City Council passed a new law allowing Spokane to take receivership of nuisance properties in the hopes of creating more housing opportunities for our residents.

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