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Warrenton wages a fight against blight

An unoccupied house owned by Clatsop County sits crumbling at 11th Street and South Main Avenue. (Cindy Yingst)
By Cindy Yingst, Friday, June 1, 2018

Warrenton has declared war on blight.

And, like any strategy meant to entice or force people to do what’s in the best interest of others, it will take diligence and perseverance to pull off.

After success at two properties last year and a third property this month -- with partial success at a fourth, the City Commission moved on to other problem parcels Tuesday night and discussed tactics for dealing with them.

One of the commission’s goals this year is to use grants and urban renewal funds to improve downtown and the city’s main entryways.

“We plan on updating our urban renewal plan to detail the most strategic use of funds … (and) we also are going to deal with blighted and nuisance properties,” Mayor Henry Balensifer wrote in a column in March about the city’s goals.

There are properties dotting the city that need to be cleaned up or torn down, the city commission determined. The most visible are the top priorities.

Earlier this month, a falling-down blue house on Harbor Drive was demolished after the city notified the property owners they had 10 days to remove the nuisance or face fines and further action.

An old gas station on Main Avenue across from City Hall received some attention, but not enough. The property is owned by the Marilyn and Richard Baumann Trust of Salem.

“The property looks a lot better than it did last week,” said Kevin Cronin, the city’s interim community development director. “But there are still five cars that are inoperable, in my opinion, and I recommend we carry on.”

On Tuesday, commissioners voted 5-0 to continue with the nuisance proceedings.

The next targeted property, at the corner of South Main Avenue and 11th Street, is owned by Clatsop County. The abandoned house was seized after the absentee owners failed to pay property taxes. It is uninhabitable.

Mayor Henry Balensifer requested permission from fellow commissioners to write a letter to Clatsop County officials, asking them to begin the process of declaring public nuisances on several properties along Highway 104, which is the continuation of South Main Street, but outside of Warrenton’s city limits.

A final property, at South Main and Ninth Street, was inherited by a neighbor recently after owner Wendell Petersen died.

The house and two warehouses are filled with junk and the new owners have inquired about getting help from the city for its cleanup.

A house and two warehouses at South Main Avenue and Ninth Street are filled with junk. The owner died recently. leaving the property to a neighbor. (Cindy Yingst)

The city wants the county to begin condemnation proceedings against blighted properties along Highway 104, just south of the city limits. (Cindy Yingst)

The city wants the county to begin condemnation proceedings against blighted properties along Highway 104, just south of the city limits. (Cindy Yingst)

The city wants the county to begin condemnation proceedings against blighted properties along Highway 104, just south of the city limits. (Cindy Yingst)


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