Oregon highest percentage of vacant foreclosures

Slow foreclosures cause more vacancies, RealtyTrac said

From the outside, this home along SE Franklin Street looks normal, but neighbors say on the inside, squatters have taken over the place, June 26, 2014. (KOIN 6)
From the outside, this home along SE Franklin Street looks normal, but neighbors say on the inside, squatters have taken over the place, June 26, 2014. (KOIN 6)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Vacant homes in foreclosure are often dirty, dangerous and depressing for neighbors. Many times they’re taken over by squatters.

The 40% of Oregon’s homes in foreclosure vacant ranks the state dead last in that category. The Portland-Vancouver metro area is in the Top 10 for cities, with 37% of homes in foreclosure vacant, a RealtyTrac study showed.

State Rep. Lew Frederick of Portland has been working on this issue for years and in 2013 had his “Good Neighbor” bill passed.

Graffiti covers the side of a boarded-up home on N. Interstate Ave. in Portland. But neighbors said squatters have still found their way inside -- using this 100-year-old home as a haven for drugs and other crimes, Sept. 10, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
Graffiti covers the side of a boarded-up home on N. Interstate Ave. in Portland. But neighbors said squatters have still found their way inside — using this 100-year-old home as a haven for drugs and other crimes, Sept. 10, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)

It gives local governments the ability to get their money back if they repair or work on a foreclosed home. It also requires the posting of a contact name and number so neighbors know who is responsible for the home.

Frederick knows more needs to be done.

“Obviously enough isn’t being done but at least you have a tool to do something,” he told KOIN 6 News. “I think there is going to be another set of discussions on how we approach this to avoid these things in the first place.”

Daren Blomquist, a vice president with RealtyTrac, said recent legislation designed to help homeowners who want to stay in their homes has slowed down the foreclosure process.

Vacant homes are a result.

“It can sometimes take two or three years for that foreclosure to take place,” Blomquist said. “During that time, what we’re seeing is more of the homeowners are just deciding to walk away.”

Blomquist said some areas passed laws allowing a foreclosure fast-tracking for people who want to walk away.

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