Residents said the main problem is that these properties are a hazard to children, harbor criminals, promote prostitution and foster drug dealing.
Adrian Hills, a resident of the south Oroville area who lives across the street from a burned-out residence, noted that the morale of the residents is sagging due to the long wait for action. Oroville-area Supervisor Bob Beeler, who said he takes the issue very seriously, responded to the frustration expressed by Hills by saying, with a chuckle, “My definition of government is kind of like watching a snail crawl backwards.”
The county has been working to implement a nuisance abatement program for over two years. It has had a good amount of success with clearing abandoned vehicles from public and private property, but the dilapidated structures offer more legal challenges.
Yvonne Christopher, director of Butte County Development Services, presented a report indicating that the properties with broken-down cars, abandoned homes, refrigerators and trash have been evaluated and scored by code enforcement officers. The county is now inching toward taking action on some of the worst offenders.
The next steps include collecting bids for cleanup and holding hearings on the proposed actions. These procedures will take at least several more months, appeals by landowners notwithstanding.
The county has $50,000 budgeted for the process and currently has no idea how much it will cost to clear properties.
Christopher said she thought the program was flawed but the Butte County counsel had suggested that her team work through the program as written at least once—that is, clean up one property—and then modify it as needed to streamline the process.
Meanwhile, south Oroville and Butte county residents continue to wait for the trash to be cleaned up.