OREGON CITY, Ore. -- The sister and mother of a girl murdered in 2002 disagree over a new development on the property where the girl’s remains were found.
Ward Weaver killed 12-year-old Ashley Pond and 13-year-old Miranda Gaddis and investigators found them in the house where he lived. Now an empty lot, the group Central City Concern plans to build a 40-unit apartment complex for recovering addicts there.
Gaddis' sister Miriah Gillett started gathering signatures Wednesday near the site, at Beavercreek Road and Fir Street, to try and stop the new development.
“I don’t think it should be an empty lot, but I also don’t think what they’re doing is right,” Gillett said. “I’d like to see something that aims towards kids, or a park or something.”
However, Gaddis' and Gillett's mother Michelle Duffey said she thinks the apartment development is a good idea.
"I was caught a little off guard as to why anyone would petition against building a complex that looks to help reunite families on the site where Miranda and Ashley were found," Duffey said in a statement sent to KGW. "I think Miranda would look down and smile knowing that the mothers living in the complex don’t have the heavy heart that I carry because they get to hug their babies and tuck them in to bed at night."
The developers said families of recovering addicts will benefit from the new complex.
“They just want an environment that is safe for their kids and for themselves while they start to live up to their higher potential in life,” said Central City Concern executive director Ed Blackburn.
Central City Concern is awaiting an $8 million approval from Oregon Housing and Community Services. If the plans are approved, the complex will break ground next year.
Gillett said she’ll go door-to-door to try and stop it if she needs to. She plans to turn the signatures in to the Clackamas Housing Authority.