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Demolish nightclub ruins or be fined, Roseburg tells property owner

The owner of the scorched remains of the Chrome Nightclub in Roseburg faces a $500 per day fine if he doesn’t clean up the charred wreckage.

The city Thursday took property owner James Walker to Roseburg Municipal Court on a citation charging him with failing to remove a dangerous building.

Municipal Court Judge Kenneth Madison told Walker he faced fines if he didn’t clean up the mess and set another court date for May 27. Walker told Madison everything may be resolved before then.

A fire destroyed the nightclub at 2455 N.E. Diamond Lake Blvd. on July 17. Fire investigators were unable to determine what caused the blaze but concluded it was not set intentionally.

Walker said after the hearing that he’s let the ruins stay because he’s been fighting with his insurance company over whether the walls and foundation are salvageable.

“I can’t remove the building until (the insurance company) acknowledges that the foundation can’t be saved,” he said. “My hands are tied.”

A chain-link fence surrounds the nightclub wreckage, much like the scene at Kuebler’s Furniture at 1100 N.E. Stephens St. in Roseburg. An investigation into the cause of the March 16 fire continues.

The furniture company will not face the same sanctions as Walker because it paid the city a fee to exempt itself from fines while it decides what to do.

Kuebler’s insurance company paid a $106 derelict fee and will pay an additional $106 per month for up to a year, according to city officials.

On the day of the Chrome Nightclub fire, the city’s Community Development Department notified Walker that his burned-out building is considered dangerous and needs to be removed or rebuilt, according to city records.

A city planner, Paul Hintz, said Thursday that property owners have 10 days from when they are notified to take action. For months, city officials tried to reach Walker to follow up on the July 17 notice but were unsuccessful, according to a city memorandum summarizing the steps it took to contact Walker.

Walker contacted the city in October and submitted information from his insurance company, Travelers Insurance, asserting the building’s walls are structurally sound and could be used to rebuild.

He said he disagreed with the assessment, however, and hired Rogers Engineering of Roseburg for a second opinion. The engineering company found that the walls and foundation are not salvageable, Walker said.

City records show he notified the city April 14 that an engineer concluded the walls are not sound and should be removed.

The following day the city mailed a citation ordering Walker to court.

• Reporter Jessica Prokop can be reached at 541-957-4209 and jprokop@nrtoday.com.

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The News-Review Updated May 2, 2014 12:58PM Published May 19, 2014 12:25PM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.