Clallam County corrections officers Eric Morris

Clallam County corrections officers Eric Morris

Clallam County agencies clean up inherited property for orphaned teen; 20 tons of debris hauled away

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County agencies have helped an orphaned teenager by clearing more than a decade of junk from property she inherited.

Members of the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office Chain Gang removed nearly 20 tons of debris last week from a property at 584 Old Olympic Highway, including junked cars, dilapidated motor homes and piles of old tires, old toys and trash.

The Clallam County Road Crew, the Clallam County Public Works and the Department of Community Development also contributed to the cleanup.

The teenager, who has not been identified by the county and declined an interview, inherited the 0.53-acre property after both of her parents died in 2015, said Barb McFall, a Clallam County code enforcement officer.

Her mother died of cancer in May and her father died on the property in July, McFall said.

According to county property records, the property has a taxable value of $24,000.

The teenager is a high school student who is living with relatives in another county and did not have the resources to clear the property herself, McFall said.

McFall said the highly visible property has been the source of numerous complaints by neighbors and others driving by.

The property forms a long, narrow wedge along an inside curve of Old Olympic Highway, with room for a residence toward the back fence, according to current county code.

According to county code, the property’s unusual shape leaves room for one structure and a septic system.

“In the summer, it’s all green leaves, but in the winter, it looks terrible,” McFall said.

According to property records, Gerald Williams purchased the property in 1991.

McFall said the county received the first formal complaint about its condition in 2006.

The debris included two junked motor homes stuffed with garbage, an outhouse structure and PVC pipes running through the property in and out of the ground that make up a bootleg septic system, she said.

“I opened the latest complaint when a neighbor advised me that Williams and his wife were both deceased and the property was vacant,” McFall said.

After some research, McFall was able to locate the teenage daughter, who had moved out of the area to live with relatives.

McFall said that because the teenager had inherited a situation over which she had no control and was unable to care for the property herself, several agencies teamed up to help out.

The chain gang provided most of the labor for the cleanup, picking up trash, dismantling old motor homes and loading debris into dump trucks donated by the Clallam County Road Crew.

The road crew found evidence that a young child had recently lived in one of the trailers among the trash on the property, which upset some members of the chain gang crew, McFall said.

Fred’s Auto and Towing hauled away junked cars that were on the property, she said.

Metal frames of motor homes remained on the property at the end of the week but were expected to be removed this week, she said.

McFall said that since the cleanup, law enforcement officers have received reports of two incidents of trespassing on the property.

“One said he was curious. I suspect the other was there with the intention of dumping. Both were given a trespass warning,” she said.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at arice@peninsuladailynews.com.

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