After a neighbor and KATU took action, the building company apologized, sent out a cleanup crew and promised to change its ways.
SOUTHEAST PORTLAND, Ore. – A mom fed up with a messy construction site took matters into her own hands and started cleaning up the sidewalk while her son captured it on cellphone video.
After she and KATU took action, the building company apologized, sent out a cleanup crew and promised to change its ways.
Sarah Riddle said the construction site at 6320 Southeast Carlton Street near her home has been a mess for weeks.
The street is like many others in Portland right now with old houses coming down and new, bigger ones going up.
Riddle doesn’t like it.
“I feel like my neighborhood is being plowed down around me,” she said, “and new houses are being constructed that do not fit my neighborhood.”
But Riddle said most of the builders in the area are following the rules.
“I have not observed any other construction projects with debris on the sidewalk,” she said, with the exception of the one where she snapped photos recently showing debris and garbage on the sidewalk.
On Wednesday night, she hit a breaking point.
“I was walking down my block and tripped on a block with a nail in it,” Riddle said, “and I became angry and came outside and started cleaning up the site myself.”
Riddle’s 13-year-old son recorded her doing that with a cellphone camera.
And he provided a little commentary of his own.
“Mom’s crazy,” he said in the video.
Riddle admits he was kind of right.
“I was. I was angry.”
She filed a complaint with Portland’s Bureau of Development Services (BDS) on Thursday and reached out to the builder, Everett Custom Homes, Friday morning.
KATU contacted them as well and shortly after they sent out a crew to clean up.
The company apologized to Riddle and its owner, Vic Remmers, sent KATU a message saying:
I am sincerely sorry about the state of this particular job site at the time of the video.
I received and email this morning from Sarah Riddle and we immediately began the process to remedy the issue.
Our whole team is currently in the process of evaluating the way all of our sites are managed and will be implementing a top to bottom protocol for daily construction clean up.
“I appreciate that Everett Custom Homes responded positively and apologized and cleaned the mess up,” said Riddle. “I think they’ve resolved the problem and we’ll call it good for now.”
BDS told KATU it gets about two to three complaints a month regarding messes at construction sites.
They also say there’s been nearly a 10 percent increase in the number of construction permits issued over the last two years.
Tim Morris, residential inspection manager for BDS, sent KATU an email saying in part:
I checked with Multnomah County’s website Catbird and it shows that Everett Custom Homes purchased the house at 6320 SE Carlton on 5/29/15 …
In residential inspections we are currently performing an average of 9,000 inspections per month for this calendar year. At our current rate we will exceed last year’s inspection totals by nearly 20,000 inspections.
Our last site visit for a requested inspection at 6320 SE Carlton was on September 4, 2015 for an inspection of the underfloor framing. This is the inspection prior to the house being built on top the foundation. We have not had an inspection request since then. We do not visit sites unless we are requested to or responding to a complaint …
… When we receive a complaint we schedule an interim erosion control inspection to check the site to see if the black fencing is installed, there are bio bags at the street drains and the trash is reasonably kept. We have not received a complaint for 6320 SE Carlton.
Our jurisdiction ends at the property line but we remind contractors to keep the sidewalks clear and trash and debris picked up. Some contractors are more professional than others.