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Verndale dilapidated home problem persists

VERNDALE -- Consternation over the dilapidated "pink house" in Verndale has city council members seeing red, and weighing their legal options for dealing with the home, which they consider a health hazard.

"It's going to have to a be court-ordered thing from here on out," said councilman Louie Randall, who has been looking into the dilapidated property at 401 N. Farwell St. "There's no sense in letting it go any further."

Councilwoman Tara Erkenbrack took a softer stance. She said she wants to acknowledge that the owner has been working on fixing up the property, but stress what still needs to get accomplished there.

"This is the first time we've ever seen an effort made," Erkenbrack said.

Randall said the home has been a health hazard, an "ongoing problem for 20-some years."

"Another option, too, is eminent domain," Randall said. "We've got to do something with it. It just goes on and on and on."

But council member Bruce Koppenhaver said pursuing the city's interests through the legal system can get costly.

"Those dollars come from somewhere," he said.

Instead, Koppenhaver said, the city needs to make it clear to the owner that while there has been work, there has not been enough progress, and "the council isn't happy at all with what's been done."

The Verndale council appointed a committee to deal more directly and frequently with the issues at the "pink house."