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Police Crack Down on Squatters

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ALBANY, Ore. — Desperate times call for desperate measures, and with a recent squatting bust, the City of Albany is seeing just that. Police arrested a man and a woman for squatting in a home on Thurston Street. It’s a situation that’s not unusual.

“It’s been more of a visible problem over the last few years, especially with more foreclosures coming on the market. On occasion, I will go into a foreclosed home and I will find a sleeping bag or garbage or clothes,” says real estate broker Kristin Smith.

The empty home on Thurston Street is one of nearly a hundred vacant homes in Albany–that’s about a third of active listings. The two squatters reportedly lived in a shed in the backyard and set up a television using an extension cord. The man was charged with burglary and theft of services. The woman was charged with criminal trespassing.

It’s a different story just 10 miles away in Corvallis.

“Squatting doesn’t seem to be an issue [in Corvallis]. We don’t have a lot of houses that are vacant. We have a very tight rental market, vacancy rate hovering about 1 percent,” said Bob Loewen, housing program specialist.

Still, there was one squatting incident on 17th and Harrison. But with the market turning, experts predict things will get better soon.

“We’re getting offers on the same day or houses being sold within a week. We’re beginning to see really good improvements,” said Smith.

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