Forest Grove code targets ‘junk’

The city of Forest Grove said this boat is violating city code, Sept. 4, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
The city of Forest Grove said this boat is violating city code, Sept. 4, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)

FOREST GROVE, Ore. (KOIN) — Arnie Genrke has a three bedroom, two bath Tollycraft boat in his Forest Grove yard. He’s refinishing it and said when it’s done it will be worth $200,000. He calls it his treasure.

The City of Forest Grove calls it junk and fined him $500 for having it on his property.

“I’m not going to pay it,” he told KOIN 6 News. “Why should I pay for it? If the boat was junk, I’d make firewood out of it. I wouldn’t be fixing it.”

The city also fined him $2,000 for two cars without valid tags that were parked in his driveway. He went to court over that and had the fines reversed.

Soon, the city of Forest Grove will be getting even stricter on code enforcements such as these after, they said, complaints have gone way up. Just last month they report receiving 20 complaints about junk.

Now the city is updating its codes and hiring a new officer whose full-time job will be to focus on code violations.

Items like wood, glass and furniture are considered junk and a code violation. No section of a cardboard box can be on the sidewalk or parking strip. Trailers, buses or RVs can’t be along the street in a residential zone for more than 24 hours. Other vehicles can’t be parked for more than 48 hours on the street or they’ll be ticketed.

Stagnant water is considered a “nuisance affecting public health.” That’s a citable offense.

The fine of up to $500 can be levied if “junk” is not in a completely enclosed structure. Just about anything considered by the code enforcement officer to be junk can result in a fine.

Some people in the city told KOIN 6 News the city is going too far.

“There’s better things to do,” one resident said. “This town has a serious drug problem and people stealing stuff and they don’t seem to care about that. They can’t get money out of drug addicts.”

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