When Cindy Perry received the letter in the mail she was confused. It was sent first class and across the top the words "Notice of Termination of Tenancy" grabbed her attention.
Perry, a resident of Heatherdale Mobile Village on Airport Road in Albany, wasn't the only resident to receive the letter detailing code violations and informing them they had until Nov. 5 to leave the premises. According to the city of Albany, anywhere from 60 to 80 of the 90 units in the park received letters and city officials started fielding phone calls about how residents could avoid eviction.
But the letters didn't come from the city. According to city attorney Joseph Allison, if evictions are taking place in Heatherdale, the only parties authorized to do so are the owners and managers of Heatherdale.
Gary Redfield owns the Heatherdale Mobile Village and said the letters were issued in an attempt to clean-up the park.
"We started this process a year ago," he said, noting that seven 30-yard dumpsters have been filled by residents and taken from the park.
Redfield said residents built carports without permits from the city and that he believed the park is responsible for enforcing city code.
Albany code compliance officers did visit the park in October and have visited the property in the past, but code compliance officials do not have the authority to evict tenants.
According to Allison, the goal of code citations is compliance. If a property refuses to work with the city and come into compliance, charges can be brought against the property owner. But, he added, the goal is ultimately compliance in those cases as well.
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On Nov. 5, several residents were working to put up railings on their property — a common compliance issue listed in the letters that threatened eviction. Glenn Joseph, who lives with Perry, was busy adding a rail to the front steps of their house but, the photo included in the letter the couple received depicted a different house,one that sits halfway down the block.
"It wasn't even our house," Perry said. She also said she had difficulty tracking down who to talk to about the letter she received, bouncing between city officials and management at the mobile park.
"We're just going to fix it," Joseph said of the railing.
The letter cites Oregon Revised Statute 90.630 and states that, under state law, tenants' failure to maintain their space makes them subject to termination of their rental agreements.
Speaking on whether or not violating city code was grounds for eviction, Redfield said, "I believe. I don't know all the facts on that."
He added that no evictions had been processed as a result of the code compliance issues and that the park only evicted residents due to non-payment of rent.
Allison said there were most likely hundreds of violations associated with dozens of homes in the park, but he added the city was not in the position to evict anyone.
"The city has an interest in making sure some of its low-income citizens are not taken advantage of and bullied by their landlords," he said. "The city takes that responsibility seriously."
In response, Redfield said, "We're not bullying, we're going by what the city ordinance is and trying to clean up the park."