Washington County

Man arrested; moldy mobile home returned to owner

Derek Conley of Portland was arrested Sept. 17

FOREST GROVE, Ore. (KOIN) -- A man was arrested Monday night after deputies say he left half of a mobile home in the parking lot of a Cornelius elementary school -- and then had plans to dump the second half.

Derek Conley of Portland was arrested around midnight after the seller alerted deputies the man was back to get the second half. 

The Washington County Sheriff's Office said they got a report of the "suspicious circumstances" at Echo Shaw Elementary School just before 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Neighbors said a large white truck towed the half of a double-wide into the lot and left it there. Deputies found it to be moldy and "clearly a hazard." It was later removed.

After the incident, deputies received dozens of tips regarding a Craigslist ad posted on Sept. 13 from a person in Yamhill offering to pay $1,000 to have a mobile home hauled away from his property. 

"We received an outpouring of tips from the public," Deputy Jeff Talbot with the Washington County Sheriff's Office said. There were also numerous public sightings of a white truck towing the mobile home northbound on Highway 47.

Talbot said Conley told the seller "he was going to use that mobile home to build tiny units for downtown Portland, which, if you've seen pictures of that mobile home, it would probably be more cost-effective to start over and build a new one."

"We suspect that he offered to take it away, pocketed the money, dumped (the mobile home) on an elementary school parking lot," Talbot said. The owner paid him "$400 to haul away the first half."

The seller called the sheriff's office "close to midnight" Monday night when Conley returned, Talbot said. Conley allegedly "was offering to receive more money to haul away the second half" of the mobile home.

Deputies drove to the site and arrested Conley.

Conley, 35, is being held at the Washington County Jail on charges of 2nd-degree criminal mischief and offensive littering. He also has an outstanding probation violation warrant for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The seller cooperated with authorities all along, Talbot said. But the dumped mobile home that was initially towed from the school has since been taken back to the seller's residence.

That doesn't make his neighbors like Norm Smith happy.

Smith said the seller "made this into a junkyard. This was a beautiful piece of property, nice trees. He started hauling in all this junk."

Smith said his neighbor brought in "about 1000" barrels, and said he was going to build barns. 

"That's what he told the county," Smith said. "But, you see, he didn't check zoning. This is a zoned farm."

As for how his neighbor handled getting rid of the mobile home, Smith said it's "just irresponsible."

"There's places that handle stuff like that," Smith said.

"You can't make this stuff up," Deputy Talbot said. "We could not write books as crazy and outlandish as the things we see day-to-day. This is an example of that."

Yamhill County Department of Planning and Development added that the seller has been under enforcement for zoning and solid waste violations since August 2016. He's been issued civil citations for both offenses and found guilty in Yamhill County Circuit Court, which resulted in $1,440 fines.

The county obtained an injunction to clean up his property by Sept. 17 -- however, the seller's attorney requested for an additional 15 days. 

Several contractors have been contacted to submit bids for the cleanup.

Recycling information:
Hotline: 503.234.3000
Find-a-Recycler
City of Portland abandoned vehicles

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