BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Tualatin Valley firefighters responded to a suspicious fire at a vacant house in Beaverton on Friday. It was the second time in six months that a fire was reported at the empty house, located off Nora Road and Sexton Mountain Drive.
Last May, a firefighter was hit by debris from the home and injured.
“It takes a toll on us as well, but I think the biggest issue is the livability for the neighborhood,” said Washington County Sheriff’s Seputy Shannon Wilde.
Wilde said if it’s not fire, crews are responding to something else on the property.
“Trespassers, squatters, juveniles breaking windows, graffiti,” said Wilde.
“It’s really frustrating, said neighbor Lanae Phelps, who lives behind the empty home. “We can hear them back there the most evenings making a ruckus.”
Phelps has lost track of how many times she's called police.
“I wish they would condemn the house,” she said. “What I've heard from the cops is when they
contact the property owner, they don't want them to do anything about it.”
Wilde said without the property owner’s cooperation, their hands are tied.
“Once we don't have permission to be on someone's property, that really eliminates a lot of the enforcement action we could be doing.”
Wilde said the county is exploring options for how to deal with the zombie home, including fining the property owner for police response. She said continued complaints by neighbors would also help build their case.
Anyone with information on Friday’s suspicious fire or trespassers in the area was asked to call Washington County’s non-emergency line at 503-629-0111.