A press release from Oregon House Democrats today, April 25:
Today the Oregon House of Representatives passed legislation that would give local governments more power to prevent vacant foreclosed homes from becoming neighborhood eyesores.
More than half of all foreclosed homes in Oregon are vacant, but current law does not assign responsibility for the upkeep of these abandoned properties. This situation has created problems for neighborhoods throughout the state as eyesore properties introduce criminal activity and harm property values.
House Bill 2662A prohibits property owners from neglecting foreclosed properties, requires property owners to post notice of who to contact in case of problems, and allows local governments to fine property owners if a nuisance arises that the owner does not address.
Rep. Lew Frederick (D–Portland) has been working for years on legislation to help neighborhoods deal with blighted properties and empty, foreclosed homes.
“I’m proud of my colleagues for supporting legislation that will help neighborhoods address this very real problem,” Frederick said. “Squatters have turned some properties into drug labs, or camped in the structures allowing garbage to accumulate. This bill gives neighbors and municipalities a very basic tool for controlling the local effects.”
In the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis, the usual remedies to deal with problem properties are no longer working, he said. HB 2662A takes a step in the right direction by prohibiting owners from neglecting empty properties.
“Eyesore properties impact communities of any size, and any density,” House Majority Leader Val Hoyle (D–Eugene) said. “I’m pleased that the House voted to give neighbors a simple tool to deal with one aspect of the fallout from the problems created by the great recession.”