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“While I cannot place an estimated dollar amount on the necessary repairs, it would appear, based on my experience in this type of work, that the added cost of code compliance elements would likely make the repair of these structures uneconomical, and likely be greater than the construction of a new structure,” Michael R. Heit with HLA Engineering Surveying wrote about the structural survey of the buildings at 519 S. First St.

The problems render the buildings unsafe for people to live in, and owner Steve Owens should provide a plan on relocating his tenants, either on a temporary or permanent basis, said Community Development Supervisor Jeff Peters in the report.

City Administrator Don Wayman said that if Owens refuses to make the repairs, the city will go back to court to get an order to compel him to fix it, or the city will have the buildings demolished.

The city first looked at conditions in the apartments in October, when a woman living there said she was being evicted because she had to call firefighters to rescue her after she fell through a rotting floor in the bathroom, according to documents the city filed in Yakima County Superior Court.

Inspectors looked at her apartment and found that floorboards were rotting from leaking plumbing fixtures. Cleanser and insect powder were sprinkled on window sills and door jambs to keep insects out, and the bathroom floor was not repaired, according to court papers. They also noted possible structural problems with other buildings.

Yakima County Superior Court Judge Michael McCarthy ordered a full inspection, which took place Dec. 14.

Inspectors reported that roofs show signs of sagging because of inadequate supports and water damage. Apartment ceilings also had signs of water damage and there were signs of wood rot on the outside of the buildings, according to the inspectors’ report.
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