Monday May 07 2012
Unappealing water and mold still issues in Auburn mobile home park
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
County officials say changes are mandated, but will take time
Tensions remain high in Glen Oaks Mobile Home Park as management works to fix the violations reported by residents to the state and county last month. Among their chief complaints were large piles of trash and debris, open sewer lines and electrical boxes, inaccurate electric bills, aesthetically unappealing water and large quantities of mold in the Auburn park?s cabins. Since the government stepped in, residents say minimal progress has been made to clean the park up, while management says they are working to fix all violations. Placer County officials say they are trying to work with both parties to bring the park?s conditions up to code. Heather Huff lives in one of the cabins, which are considered the county?s jurisdiction. She moved into the cabin with her son in February and a few weeks later large amounts of mold began to build on the walls, ruining most of her possessions. Huff said none of the mold has been cleaned from her cabin yet, but she did decide to clean the outside of the area around the park?s cabins. Since several of the tenants reported the park?s violations to state and county agencies, Huff said there has been hostility from some of the park?s other tenants. She said one young resident cursed at her and threatened to ?get her? while holding a pitchfork in his hand. After that Huff said she called the police and he was given a verbal warning. Huff said she plans to sue the park for the mold her and her son were subjected to. She said she can?t afford to move anywhere else in the meantime. ?I contacted a lawyer this morning and he said he is more than likely very interested in taking me on as a client,? Huff said during an interview early last week. ?He is doing an investigation right now.? Mary Carlson, manager of Glen Oaks, said she offered Huff money to live elsewhere while the cabin was cleaned, but Huff declined. Huff said she was only offered the first and last months rent she paid when she initially moved in. The state will be conducting a follow-up inspection Friday, Carlson added. Since they were initially written citations, Carlson said she has replaced ?stolen? sewer caps, cleaned up a large amount of trash and debris and fixed electrical issues. ?We are doing exactly what the state told us to do,? Carlson said. She added that she no longer wanted to have any contact with the Journal. David Freeman, a resident of Glen Oaks, said most of the debris in one empty lot has been cleaned and the sewer lines have been capped, but he and his wife Dale Freeman are still receiving inaccurate electric bills. Other areas of the park still have trash and debris and since the water is considered drinkable no changes will be made to it. ?The water is still the same. Some days is clear, some days it?s nasty,? Freeman said. He said he is worried that when the state and county stop monitoring the park?s progress, management will let the park?s conditions become unhealthy again. Ken Stuart, Placer County interim director of environmental health, said the county wants to see the park healthy for residents, but also doesn?t want to see the park shut-down and leave them with nowhere to live. Stuart said while the process may take some time, the county is committed to seeing the park cleaned up. ?As an enforcing agency you are walking that fine line between making sure people have places to live, but also that it?s a healthful place to live,? Stuart said. He said after some debate between the state and the county it was established that while most of the mobile home park is under the state?s jurisdiction, the county is responsible for enforcing codes on the property?s cabins. Stuart said the water is up to code and he is aware that management is taking some other steps to clean the park. He said removing the mold in the cabins may mean the park has to make significant structural changes. Stuart said the state and county agencies are coordinating to make sure the necessary changes to the park are made. The county is still establishing what changes need to be made to the cabins. ?You work with the affected people,? Stuart said. ?Where it gets scary, of course, is there is people?s lives. It?s a very difficult issue to deal with.? Reach Sara Seyydin at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter @AJ_News.