The City of Roseburg is looking to sell two derelict properties in its ongoing efforts to either clean up or get rid of “zombie homes” that are considered an eyesore and potentially dangerous, and turn the properties into something nice.
The vacant properties, located at 1054 NE Cedar St., and 154 SE Mosher Ave., were registered as derelict by the city in 2018. The owners of the properties failed to fix them up, and the city eventually foreclosed on them.
In January 2020, the city held a public auction to dispose of the properties, but no bid was received for either property, so the city went ahead and purchased them. State law requires a one-year redemption period for such purchases, giving the previous owners time to pay all money owed and redeem ownership. Neither owner did so.
Last month, the building on 154 SE Mosher Ave., was deemed dangerous and the city had it demolished, leaving behind an empty lot.
City officials said several individuals have expressed an interest in purchasing one or both of the properties. The real market value for the vacant lot at 154 SE Mosher is $37,500, and the property at 1054 NE Cedar has a real market value of $99,178, according to the Douglas County Assessor’s website.
On Monday, the city council declared the properties as surplus, which will allow the city to move forward with the process of selling the properties to recoup the costs incurred. The council also decided to turn the marketing, pricing and selling of the properties over to a real estate professional, who has yet to be chosen.
The costs incurred by the properties to date are as follows:
- $11,499.42 for the property at 1054 NE Cedar St., which includes liens, delinquent building fees, property taxes and other costs.
- $34,450.74 for the property at 154 SE Mosher Ave., which includes more than $22,000 in demolition costs as well as back property taxes, liens, attorney fees and more.
The existence of vacant, derelict buildings and vacant lots has been a problem the city has been wrestling with for years.
In December 2017, the Roseburg City Council passed an ordinance meant to address the growing number of so-called “zombie homes” popping up — residential properties that were not kept up and often inhabited by squatters. The ordinance took effect in spring 2018.
Under the ordinance, the city can register buildings considered derelict and begin to impose fines if the properties are not cleaned up. It also sped up the time it takes to put a lien on a derelict property. When the ordinance was passed there were about two dozen such properties, said Stuart Cowie, director of development for Roseburg.
That number has been whittled down to about 10 properties, mostly homes, he said.
A property is considered derelict if it is unoccupied and boarded up or generally unsecured.
Two of the most prominent and troublesome vacant properties in downtown Roseburg are the Rite Aid building and the adjacent vacant lot that used to house the Safeway market.
Rite Aid has been vacant since 2005 and the former Safeway next door was also vacant for about 15 years before finally getting torn down nearly two years ago. Both properties have been owned for decades by the same family.
Cowie has been in negotiations with the family to do a better job of maintaining the properties. The Rite Aid building, in particular, is often vandalized with graffiti and has trash strewn about it. Nearby business owners say they often are left to pick up used needles, trash and feces from around the property.