The Board of County Commissioners did their annual travel to Yachats on Thursday to find out what’s on the minds of Yachats City Councilors and anyone else who might want to chime in.
The council raised the issue of local homes that have been lost to foreclosure and repossessed by a bank and then becoming an eyesore and a threat to public safety because it’s become an attractive nuisance – either through having broken windows or doors – transients sleeping in them, etc.
County Counsel Wayne Belmont said for local cities or counties to be able to do something about such neglect is to notify the property owner – usually a bank – and informing them of the problem. If that doesn’t work, Belmont said that the city can go in, fix the door, fix the window – whatever it takes to secure the home or even commercial building and then bill the property owner. If the property owner stubbornly ignores the request for reimbursement for public funds use to reduce the health and safety issues of the property, the city or county can put a lien on the property – meaning that when it sells, the cost of whatever mitigation has been performed is paid off in the sale. But again, this pertains only to foreclosures, according the Belmont.
The council also inquired about what can be done about obviously mentally challenged homeless figures who wander the coast in search of a place to stay, meals, odd jobs, what-have-you. Commissioners said that unless the person is a clear and present danger to themselves or to someone else, they’re usually free to wander about the county anywhere they want.
The council brought up a situation where a particular transient ran afoul of the law in Newport but then showed up in Yachats. A sheriff’s deputy responded by saying that there is no law against being mentally challenged. He said it’s often that law enforcement responds to resident complaints about unwanted persons in their stores, sleeping on their porches, garages or panhandling door to door. The deputy said unless they become a clear and present danger to themselves or to anyone else, they are left alone.
The inquiry came from several Yachats residents who were concerned about a certain man who had become known around town but was eventually found in a backyard of a resident who called police. Upon arrival the deputies charged him with trespass and took him to the county jail.
In other Yachats news, the council met this week to go over community goals for the coming year. Mayor Ron Bran said that the council’s biggest goal appears to be finding out where all the leaks are in the city’s domestic water system. Mayor Brean said that approximately 20% of the town’s drinking water is leaking out of underground broken pipes. He said the city is trying to find exactly where those leaks are and then fix them. He said the city has an apparatus that can navigate the town’s fresh water system complete with a live video camera that plies the underground system. And once it’s all been scanned, Brean said, the city can move ahead with the required repairs.