“Hillsboro has worked diligently over the last six-and-a-half years to tackle the issue of vacant, often dangerous, buildings scattered throughout the city,” according to Michael Murphy, commissioner of Public Health and Safety for the City of Hillsboro. “Today, the 50th structure has been demolished and a once neglected property is being made safe and ready for future development.”
The city facilitated the demolishment of a long-abandoned structure located on Water and King Street (near the Central Park Pool) on Wednesday, Dec. 22, after being approached by a resident interested in purchasing the property. The city helped put the “now owner” in contact with the “former owner” to have the run-down structure located on the parcel taken down.
Throughout his time serving as a commissioner, Murphy has been dedicated to tearing down derelict structures and returning the neglected properties to the public–an often unnoticed step in the city’s intensive initiative to revitalize itself. These vacant properties have spillover effects that negatively impact neighboring properties and the community as a whole, including reduced property values, increased crime, increased risk to public health and welfare, and even increased costs for municipal governments. The city’s ultimate goal is to get as many of these properties back on the tax roll as quickly as possible, and the vast majority of these, now 50, properties have stayed in the hands of private individuals, or sold, creating revenue for the city.
While the city must obtain a court order to demolish a structure, most of these properties remain in the individuals’ hands throughout the process, as was the case in the most recent demolishment at Water and King Street. Obtaining a court order to move forward on tearing down an abandoned structure can happen in a number of ways. The easiest is when owners deed the abandoned property to the city.
In some cases, the taxes have been purchased by an outside company or there is an outstanding health and human services lien on the property–the state has a claim against the estate of the owner following their death. These cases require the city to initiate court proceedings to absorb the property, which is where Hillsboro Police Department and the city’s attorney, Kit Hantla, step in.
“All the credit goes to my colleagues on the council and the teams around them,” Commissioner Murphy stated. “I could not be more proud of the work that has gone into the monumental effort of cleaning up our community. This is the tangible result of public servants and members of the general public working together to make Hillsboro a better place to call home.”
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