Eric Thompson

Preventing a Nuisance Property

Eric Thompson, City Cable 5, No Phone Number Available

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at 12:39 p.m.

The City of Spokane wants you to be a nosey neighbor. No, officials are not asking for the neighborhood gossip but rather, Code Enforcement officers want you to keep an eye out for no trespassing signs.

“This sign is a dead giveaway that nobody is supposed to be in that building,” Jason Ruffing said as he stapled a “Do Not Occupy” sign on an abandoned home in East Spokane.

This is where being a nosey neighbor comes in. While Code Enforcement officers, like Ruffing, do what they can to monitor structures that are going through a process, they can’t be everywhere, every day.

“It always helps when neighbors are involved. We have houses that we never hear anything about. As a city official, those updates definitely help,” explained Ruffing.

What everyone is trying to prevent is an abandoned building becoming a nuisance.

“A lot of times when you have an abandoned building, things build up over time and it becomes known that there is an abandoned building. Where more troubling things continue to happen. So if there’s a little bit of solid waste, that turns in to a lot of solid waste. If there’s a small piece of graffiti on the garage, that turns in to graffiti everywhere. If there’s a broken out window, that turns into people living there. Things do snowball so it’s important to let Code Enforcement know. If there is trash that can be removed without trespassing that’s helpful too,” Ruffing said.

Here are some warning signs that you should look for if you have an abandoned building in your neighborhood.

“Signs could be fresh footprints in the snow. It could be trash building up around the door. Things you can see in the windows that weren’t there before is a great sign that someone has gotten inside. If you see those things, whether it’s in one day or spread out over months, or if someone is in the house, call Crime Check,” advised Ruffing.

Ruffing says while taking an interest in a property that isn’t yours may sound like a hassle, if neighbors work together they truly can prove than an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

“It’s ok to call. We’re not bothered when we hear updates from neighbors. We want to hear what’s going on at these properties. We don’t get to do inspections as often as you do as a neighbor. You live by it and see it a lot more than we do,” Ruffing explained.

If you are concerned about nuisance activities around an abandoned home near you, call the City of Spokane by dialing 3-1-1.

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