Mountain of debris irks Sellwood neighbors as house rehab stalls
When a house, built in 1923 at 1634 S.E. Nehalem Street in Sellwood, was sold last August, the publicly-listed owner – Oleson Road Investing LLC – apparently had plans to rehabilitate the aging home.
That project stalled in January. And, to the chagrin of neighbors, the owners of the large commercial dropbox that had been in front of the property dumped its contents in the driveway when they removed their dropbox later that month.
On January 22 a neighbor called THE BEE to report the problem – and, asking not to be identified by name, was on the sidewalk the next day to meet us, and said, "The stench coming from the piled-up debris was almost overwhelming." He used the past tense, because it was, that very day, being cleaned up.
As it happened, THE BEE had stopped by the property previously, right after the original call, and took some pictures – and then made inquiries the following morning at City Hall. Perhaps coincidentally, another dropbox from a different company had appeared on Nehalem Street on January 23rd, and workers had begun loading it with rubble. Another man who was on hand, identifying himself only as the brother of the woman who owns the property, and took responsibility for the new cleanup.
This man, who also did not want his name used, said his sister had hired a contractor to "rehab" the house – one who had demanded full payment up front, which his sister, perhaps foolishly, had paid. That contractor then absconded with the money shortly after beginning the tear-out part of the project; and the "crooked contractor" had not paid the dropbox company, either, which had come to retrieve their box, dumping its contents on the driveway in doing so.
The brother told THE BEE he wanted to apologize to the neighborhood for what had happened. "If this happened in my neighborhood, I'd be very upset," he agreed. "I'm now doing the best I can to help out my sister, and to help the neighbors."
True to his word, the remaining debris was soon shoveled off of the property, and into new dropboxes within a couple of days.
Hopefully, the house rehab project will now go more smoothly, albeit more slowly – as the new owners now plan to renovate the house on their own.
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