"It looks like a dump:" Neighbors up in arms over dilapidated house

"It looks like a dump:" Neighbors up in arms over dilapidated house »Play Video
YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- A dilapidated house in Yakima County has neighbors up in arms. They say it's not only an eyesore, but also a safety hazard. Code enforcement officers continue to be overwhelmed. KIMA is taking action for you to see what can be done. We brought the issue to Yakima County leaders.

To drivers passing by at Ahtanum Road and 81st Avenue, the house is barely visible. But, neighbors know it all too well.

Glenda Haney lives next door.

"It looks like a dump," she said.

"It's scary, and it's kind of creepy," said Sarah Newman.

Boarded-up windows, broken trees in the yard, a roof falling apart.

"There are bats living in there and squirrels, and probably rats, which is unhealthy for all of us around here," said Sarah.

She asked KIMA for help. We brought her problem to the county's codes division.

This isn't the first time someone has complained. Officers confirmed no one lives there.

To get both sides, KIMA called the owners. We reached one of their wives who said her husband would do the talking. But, he wasn't available.

Problems like this are not unusual for codes officer Dave Saunders.
His department already has almost 1,400 active cases, with only a few officers to handle them.

KIMA asked, "If the goal is to make the county beautiful and habitable, isn't it worth it to spend that extra money on even one additional salary? To hire one more person to help out the codes department?"

"Well, you know, at this point, it goes go back to the prioritization, and public safety is first," says Yakima County Commissioner Kevin Bouchey.

The county spends 82 percent of its budget on law and justice. Other departments split the rest. Though when it comes to the house on Ahtanum, Saunders says extra manpower wouldn't make a difference.

"It doesn't look like it's violating any regulations in a way that rise to a priority level of action," he said.

Neighbors disagree.

"If it catches fire, I'm right there," said Haney.

"Lots of times things will fall across the driveway when the wind blows," said Sarah.

Sarah's not not giving up. She plans to file another complaint to force an inspection.

Another codes officer came by later to take pictures of the house. If violations are found during the inspection, the owners will be notified. If they don't fix them, the county could do the work after getting a warrant.

KIMA will follow up on this story.