TIGARD, Ore. -- People living in a small, quiet neighborhood in Southwest Tigard thought they had stumbled upon a solution to the ever-present, unpredictable problem plaguing their neighborhood.
The owner of the home on Southwest Gentle Woods Drive had been threatened with foreclosure, and the bank was moving in.
Then, the state stepped in, and their hopes were dashed.
“It's dangerous,” said Kelly Ilic, who lives a few doors down from the house. “And there's danger that is now being supported by the state of Oregon.”
State officials confirmed earlier to the Oregonian that the home’s owner, 85-year-old Jean Leake, received a $30,000 grant from a federally funded, state run program designed to keep struggling homeowners in their homes.
It was founded during the recession, and last year, it cemented the future of the Tigard neighborhood’s "nuisance home".
“It's not okay,” said Dr. Norma Wetzell, who lives a few houses down. “It never has been okay.”
Wetzell stood in her front lawn Thursday and pointed to the site of one of many tales tied to the “flop house”.
“It was about as tall as you are, and it knocked it clear over and out,” she said of a young, ornamental tree that used to stand in her yard, near the sidewalk.
Last year, she said a woman staying at the house drove up, over the curb and hit the tree.
Wetzell said she appeared intoxicated.
Neighbors said such horror stories are common. They snap photos of dirty syringes and bags of drugs, lying in the home’s lawn and in nearby ones.
They see strange people, mostly young adults, coming and going late at night.
Ilic said she’s watched in fear as SWAT teams entered the home to arrest the subject of an outstanding warrant. Another time, she said, authorities arrested a man at gunpoint in the home’s front yard.
Last week, another neighbor said a dog from the home attacked her and her dog.
A spokesman for the Tigard police department confirmed Thursday, officers are called there frequently.
When neighbors found out about the taxpayer-funded loan that kept their nightmare going, they were furious.
“We have the city of Tigard and Tigard police who are spending tons of resources and money working to combat the danger that this home is bringing into our community and on the other hand we have the state of Oregon providing them with a $30,000 gift basically,” said Ilic.
KGW attempted to contact Jean Leatke, but a woman named Bonnie answered the door Thursday.
She said her mother was ill, adding six adult members of the family live in the home, which she described as “godly” and a “sanctuary” for immigrants, refugees, addicts and the homeless.
She explained the full dumpster, sitting in front of the small, gray ranch was the result of “spring cleaning”, adding the family hopes to move soon but has no solid plans.