Squatters create problems for Lents homebuyer

Squatters have burned the carpet, used the bathroom and left behind trash.

Sqautters have repeatedly broken into this house, leaving behind trash and damage. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A vacant home in the southwest Lents neighborhood has become the target of squatters.

Melissa Jessup, who is buying the home in the 6000 block of 93rd, has to wait until it’s out of escrow before she can do anything structurally.

Meanwhile she says people have been breaking to the house, clogging the toilet, burning the carpet and leaving behind used condoms and shampoo bottles.

Jessup boarded up the house, but someone broke the back door.

Neighbor Larry Green has seen people come and go from the house.

“I don’t really like squatters too much. You know. You can’t trust them,” Green said. “Nasty traffic, dirty backpacks, drugs, needles everywhere. I hate to see that. I’ve got kids.”

Independent property preservation contractor Brie Clark was at the home Friday securing the locks. She said in order to fix the problem, squatters rights need to be curtailed.

“I know our police do keep an eye on problem properties and if they witness someone in there, or they see someone trying to break into it, they can take action,” City Commissioner Dan Saltzman said. “But there is no systematic program a this point.”

Saltzman said the city auditor has put together a list of foreclosed properties, zombie houses that can be put on the market.

The city commission will soon vote on foreclosing 10 zombie houses, which hasn’t been done in 40 years.

Green hopes the sale in Lents goes through.

“That’s what I would like to see,” Green said. “Somebody that is living here, not the squatters.”

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