Neighbors tired of unzoned Salem boarding house

This former nursing home became a boarding house in Salem in 2008. May 30, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
This former nursing home became a boarding house in Salem in 2008. May 30, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Ronald Burton is one of several residents in a Salem neighborhood that is fed up with Church Street Manor.

The former nursing home became a boarding home in 2008 and he said it’s now a magnet for crime.

“They’ve got all kinds of garbage that isn’t being picked up, the drug paraphernalia that’s found on the corner, how it was never here when it was a nursing home,” Burton told KOIN 6 News. “I’m getting kind of tired of seeing three, four cops lining up on my street.”

The facility offers low-income housing for about 30 people.

KOIN 6 News learned the facility has been in violation of the property’s zoning for the past six years. The planning commission is now asking the mayor and council to approve a permit that will allow them to continue the low-income housing.

Nearby residents vocally oppsed that plan at this week’s city council meeting.

The Community Development Director for the City of Salem, Glenn Gross, told KOIN 6 News the problems stemmed from little on-site management.

“The bulk of the problem has been a lack of on-site management to date, so it could very well be, assuming the council approves it, that we will want to make sure going forward, the site has good on site property management,” Gross said.

The property owner was not available for comment on Friday.

One resident, though, told KOIN 6 News crime has been an issue in the past. But with new management, things are getting better. He hopes people in the community will start to see the good sooner rather than later.

“I invite them to come over, I invite them to come see inside the house,” Jered Williamson said. “I invite them to come meet up with some of these people so they have a better idea of what it is they are dealing with.”

Salem police told KOIN 6 News they’ve been in touch with the property owner to resolve the issue.

The city council will take up the boarding house issue in July.

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