City eyes cleanup costs for collapse

An excavator claw takes a bite out of a remnant of the old IOOF Building in Vale after the structure collapsed.
(Les Zaitz)

By John L. Braese

The Enterprise

VALE – The Vale City Council recently declared the parcel of land currently stacked with rubble of the IOOF Building a public nuisance.

The declaration starts the process of cleanup of the area and billing of those responsible for the costs.

“We have estimates of $55,000-60,000 to clear the property from a company,” said Vale City Manager Lynn Findley. “Much of that cost is dumping. At $23 per ton, dumping costs alone will come to around $25,000.”

The building fell under the weight of snow accumulation on Jan. 23. The city subsequently placed fencing around the rubble.

Due to the declaration, a letter was sent to the owner of record, Margaret Stallknecht of Coos Bay. The letter informed her the city would be pursuing cleanup costs of the property.

Stallknecht returned a response, stating Wells Fargo Bank had initiated foreclosure proceedings against her, kicking her out of the property. Bank officials said the bank no record of doing so. Stallknecht also stated she is living on a limited income and has no way to pay any costs associated with the property.

Per the nuisance declaration, Stallknecht had 10 days to reply. The next step in the process and what actions to take will be taken up by the council on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

Findley also said the city is working with the county on the property and cleanup costs.

The county has a foreclosure judgment against the property and will become the landowner automatically on Oct. 5 unless it acts before then.

Have a news tip? Email new@malheurenterprise or call John L. Braese at 541-473-3377.