Residents Try to Protect Neighborhood

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EUGENE, Ore. — Neighbors say squatters have been causing problems at an abandoned house, everything from sleeping at the property to setting it on fire.

The couple that owns Mr. Appliance next to the house say they’ve called police, the city and even boarded up doors and windows on their own. They say their calls have gone unanswered, and they’re worried this situation will only get more dangerous if something isn’t done.

Rico Kreindel and Roxy Rich have owned Mr. Appliance for 16 years, and for 15 of those years, they liked their neighbor and how she kept her house.

“The yard was beautiful, there were rose bushes, she even had a bird house,” said Rich.

But after their old neighbor passed away, the new neighbors have been a different story.

“We have people sleeping on the front steps, bottles of liquor, and urinating on the side of the building and so forth,” said Kreindel.

Two weeks ago, the misbehaving maxed out when a fire ruined the garage and nearly burned the house.

The fire was exactly what Kreindel and Rich had been worried about. They have spent the past months calling police, the city and the bank trying to buy the property themselves.

“It’s been phone call after phone call, going nowhere,” Kreindel said.

So they did what they could on their own.

“We decided if we don’t do something, no one is going to do something. The house will either burn down, or someone will get assaulted or killed in it,” Rich said.

“So we boarded the house up so nobody could get in it, because basically it was full of cigarettes and bottles, and needles, everything you could think of. It was a mess,” Kreindel said.

“That kept everybody out for a while, until yesterday, when the windows were breached,” Rich said.

So Kreindel spent Tuesday morning with more plywood and screws, boarding up even more broken windows. Doing what he could to preserve the house they’d like to call their own, but to also save lives.

“We’re afraid that somebody’s going to die. The house can burn down that’s one thing, but we just don’t want anyone to get hurt,” Kreindel said.

“It’s like a countdown until somebody gets hauled out of here in a body bag or something, or the house burns to the ground and takes a bunch of other houses with it,” Rich said.

As far as they’re concerned, one fire is enough of a cry for help for the house. They say one of the most frustrating parts is that they’ve offered Wells Fargo a check from the beginning to take the house off the bank’s hands, but they say their offers have be unanswered.

The couple were finally told Tuesday that the house could be up for auction soon.

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