Newspaper Archive of
The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
November 7, 2012     The New Era Paper
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November 7, 2012

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:Ii , r,, - November 7, 2012 VouR COMhlUNITV Page 13 County moving fast on problem property foreclosure By Sean C. Morgan Of The New Era Linn County is moving forward with an accelerated foreclosure on a property located at the intersection of 1 lth and Poplar streets that will help rid the neighborhood of ongoing disruptions. Neighbors are hoping it's a problem solved. Payments of property taxes for the property at 1650 llth Ave., whose owner, Dennis Duncan, is deceased, have fallen five years behind. "We" are going to go ahead with the accelerated redemption," said Kim Grooms, Linn County property manager. The county held a hearing on Oct. 31 and decided to move forward. The property has a real market value of $40,490 and an assessed value of $35,210. Some $5,975.53 is owed in back taxes. Under a normal foreclosure, the property would need to be behind by six years, Grooms said. Because the owner of the property hasn't beeti living in it, the county can accelerate the process. The property tax must be paid b: Nov. 30 to prevent the foreclosure, Grooms aid. "We've been here about three, thee and a half years," said neighbor Gerritt Schaffer. In the past, the residents were "kind of bearable." They would be up all night and sleep all day. Since then others have moved in and stayed there, and then last year, it got worse. Duncan was serving life in prison for the 1989 torture and murder of Elizabeth Cramlet. The house had running water, but it did not have power. "No one's had any right to be there," Schaffer said. "No one was paying the taxes." In the past year and a half, Schaffer said the traffic to the house has increased day and night, and he observed money exchanging hands in the front yard. He believes the property was being used to sell drugs. People would be gathered in the yard around a bonfire, drinking whiskey, cussing and even passing a joint around, Schaffer said. With his wife and son home while he was away at work it made him nervous. At night, he kept a handgun next to his bed. He has had problems with vandalism, and in the four weeks prior to the hearing, the traffic started ramping up even more, with one man moving out and others moving in, Schaffer said. "It was an all-time high. I'm not Linn County is foreclosing this property, 1650 llth Avenue. People staying at and visiting the house have been the source of ongoing disturbances and what they believe is drug traffic, according to neighbors. Photos by Sean C. Morgan Gerritt Schaffer points out where Ie has installed lighting outside his house. so worried about myself, but it's my family when I'm not there." Schaffer was calling the police all the time, he said. As the problems there got worse, he looked at different ways to deal with it, Schaffer said. He contacted family members, but they didn't want anything to do with the property, which has a lien on it by the city of Sweet Home. With the hearing, the occupants of the home left. "It's perfect," Schaffer said. With all of this going on, he has been frustrated by the police response, he said, although he believes the police were stepping up their responses in the last month. "They kind of went above and beyond here at the end," Schaffer said. "Any time we receive information regarding a person or a residence regarding narcotics activity, it is directed to a detective," said Police Chief Bob Burford. If provided with names of people visiting or license plates, the police will look and see if there is a pattern of people known to be involved in narcotics. Often the police will conduct discrete surveillance to see if they can find the same patterns as those reporting the information, Burford said. If police can put these things together, especially if the occupant has a history with narcotics, the police may have probable cause and can then seek a search warrant. That's typically how the investigation is handled, he said. "We take people's Fourth Amendment rights very seriously." In this particular case, based on the information provided, the police never reached the probable cause threshold, Burford said. Likely, it was a group of transient individuals who had formed an ad hoc family lifestyle, and during the summer, they would be outside drinking and partying, Burford said. While most people would be inside using electricity, fans and air conditioning, they would be outside partying. "That's certainly something that can be disruptive to a neighborhood," Burford said. "I certainly wouldn't want it." II Blaser From page 1 be used to carry on the mission of the foundation. The Sweet Home Community Foundation is a nonprofit, fully tax- deductible organization that limits its support to the geographical area covered by the Sweet Home School District. The Foundation makes grants to qualified local organizations and projects. SHCF's mission is to 'improve the quality of life in the Sweet Home community.' "The foundation offers many ways for people to give back to 'The community as a whole is very grateful for this kind gift in memory of Alice Blaser,' - Bob Burford our community," Burford said. "In addition to the standard cash donation, we also accept donations of real property, stocks and bequests from a will or trust." These methods and many more often have significant tax advantages to the giver, Burford said. Gifts can be anonymous or-named. Gifts can be directed to a specific area of support within the community." The foundation is administered by a 10-person Board of Directors made up of local citizens with a proven track record of leadership within the community. With this gift, the foundation's endowment reached about $400,000. "The SHCF board and the community as a whole is very grateful for this kind gift in memory of Alice Blaser," Burford said. "During future SHCF grant distribmions the foundation will honor her memory and her love of the Sweet Home Community." Afice Blaser in a 1980photo. Lost hunters turn up after spending night in forest Two hunters from Albany were found Saturday after spending an unplanned night in the woods near Sweet Home, Linn County Under- sheriff Bruce Riley said. Riley said deputies and mem- bers of their search and rescue team were called early Saturday to help locate the two missing hunters after the Sheriff's Office received a call at approximately 3 a.m. reporting that David Ulrich, 28, and Robert Paige, 25, both from Albany, were missing after a planned day hunt in the Sweet Home area. The two had left their home early Friday morning, Nov. 2, planning to return home that evening, he said. Friends found their vehicle late Friday night on a forest ser- vice road near House Rock Camp- ground in eastern Linn County. Upon being notified, Members of the Linn County Mounted Posse, Linn County Search and Rescue, United States Forest Service .,and members of the Marion County 4-Wheel Drive Club immediately responded to the area to assist in the search. At approximately 11 a.m. Sat- urday, deputies reported that both Ulrich and Paige had walked out to a road and were found to be unin- jured and in good condition. Dep- uties learned that Ulrich and Paige became lost last night and were un- able to get a signal from their GPS. They decided to spend the night,, in the woods and were prepared to planning to hike out in the morn- spendthe night. ing. Both hunters are experienced CORRECTIONS A helpful reader has informed us that, in the photo on page 6 of the 55 Plus section in the Oct. 31 edition, the woman who is third from the left is Mary Ripley, "who took the money for water bills for years." Our Oct. 3 editorial on Albany & Eastern's billing of residents who live along its line between Lebanon and Sweet Home con- tained one line that could be mis- construed to imply that tax money has been used to finance the res- toration work on the railroad line. State funding for the project has all come from a Connect Oregon III grant that is comprised entirely of lottery money, according to A&E spokesman Jared G. Cornell. Cor- nell has stated that none of the fi- nancing for tile project comes from tax revenue. Corps plans Nov. 14 information meeting on Foster fish facility The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will host a public information session about the upgrade of the Foster Dam Adult Fish Collection Facility Wednesday evening, Nov. 14, at Foster Elementary School, 5526 Poplar St. Sweet Home area residents are invited to drop by any time between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. to meet with Corps staff members and learn about the purpose, schedule, benefits and impacts of the construction as well as other Corps activities along the South Santiam River and elsewhere in the Willamette Basin. "People have a lot of questions about how this project will affect them," said Erik Petersen, operations manager for the Corps' Willamette Valley Project, which oversees Foster Dam and 12 others in the Willamette Basin. "Representatives from the dam, my project leadership team, and Portland District's Construction and Project Management branches will be there with answers" Construction is underway at the dam itself and in Wiley Park and will continue through March 2014. For more information, visit nwp.usace.army.mil/Missions/ Currentprojects.