PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A homeowner in SE Portland says squatters have taken over his house and that he doesn’t have the money to take them to court to get them out.
Now, a Lake Oswego realtor is stepping in, trying to help sell the property.
Joe Lustgraaf, the owner of the house located off 52nd and Flavel told KOIN 6 that the people inside have been violent toward him, but he’s hoping an investor sees his problem as something they can profit from.
Lustgraaf said people have been squatting in his home for a year-and-a-half.
“He just can’t get them out,” said Nathan Jones, the new realtor of the property. “He’s tried to go to the people and negotiate with them and they beat him up and sent him to the hospital and that was his last contact … So basically the only way he can get them out he’s got to hire an attorney and go through the civil process, and it costs money to do that, and he just doesn’t have the funds.”
Currently, Jones is getting the word out that this house is up for sale, as is with squatters.
“I’m just trying to help him out for somebody who doesn’t have the resources to help himself,” Jones said.
If a buyer is looking for a deal, they’re selling the house at a loss, which could be an investor’s gain.
“You buy now, and you get them out later,” Jones said.
Jones is looking for a buyer who can obtain an attorney to go through the civil process of getting squatters out, something neighbors nearby are hoping for as well.
“(There were) a lot of different characters and a lot of movement at the house … And we weren’t really aware it was an issue until we were awoken by flash bangs in the middle of the night and police presence,” said a neighbor who asked to remain anonymous for safety purposes.
Law enforcement confirmed the neighbors statements, saying they recently obtained a search warrant at the house due to suspected illegal activity.
On May 26 around 2 a.m., the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant at the home as part of a criminal investigation.
The two primary suspects, 36-year-olds Alfredo Anthony Martinez and Stephen James Fry, were not at the home when the search warrant was served, but they were located in the following days. Deputies reported finding drugs and illegal firearms.
All visitors were detained, questioned and ordered to leave, according to the sheriff’s office, who also said law enforcement can only seize a home for the length of an investigation.
KOIN 6 crews saw people clearly occupying property this week, but law enforcement said eviction issues are a civil matter that must be taken to court.
Neighbors said they know they’re not the only ones dealing with this problem in Portland.
“I think we’ve seen in the news throughout our whole city, there are squatters actively all over the place. People want agency over their property they want to know their community is safe. It’s sad,” said the neighbor.
If you’re looking to buy, flip and sell, Jones is currently accepting offers. For those interested in purchasing the home, contact Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-684-2155.