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Judy Byers is all smiles after a neighbor's junk-strewn house and yard were cleaned up by the new property owner at the city of Medford's insistence. City officials say the home was one of the messiest they had seen in years. - Jamie Lusch

Medford mess gets makeover

A house and yard on Gilman Road near the Medford airport is no longer an eyesore with knee-deep debris after new owners paid to haul away a 10-year-accumulation of junk.

"It sure looks good now," said Judy Byers, a 74-year-old woman who dealt with a messy neighbor for 10 years.

The city of Medford had geared up to spend $10,000 on the cleanup effort in October, planning to get the money back by placing a lien on the property.

Medford police Sgt. Ben Lytle said the cleanup cost and the other liens would have exceeded the value of the property, so the city worked with new owners, who footed the bill.

The property is now owned by Deutsche Bank National Trust Co., which bought it on Oct. 13 for $54,000. The previous owner, John Carver, who had been cited by the city for the mess, has moved to Georgia.

Strewn outside the home were soggy books, computer parts, toys, buckets and papers.

A trailer sat next to a burned-out garage that the city also wanted torn down for safety reasons.

City officials said Carver tried to convince them in 2010 that much of the junk on his property in north Medford had value, though he did agree to remove garbage and abandoned vehicles.

In 2010, Carver told city officials that he had removed some debris from his property, though the city had a difficult time verifying Carver's claim because of the volume of junk on his property.

The city paid $183 on Sept. 22 to board up the property after receiving a number of complaints from neighbors about homeless people being on the property, Lytle said.

The complaints began after Carver left the site.

Lytle said the city has run into problems with other properties in the past, but that Carver's situation was among the worst.

"We have some that are more difficult than others," he said. "A project of this magnitude is not at all that common."

Byers was surprised to learn the city hadn't paid to clean up the junk.

She said the clean-up work took place over more than a week. First debris was moved out of the house while other workers trimmed the trees and cut down the weeds. Almost four days of work went into removing the garage, which had been heavily damaged in a fire.

"They broke up all the concrete by hand," she said.

The inside of the house is still in pretty bad shape, Byers said. "It's a shame. The house is going to have to be torn down."

Some neighbors reportedly salvaged items out of the debris after the previous owner supposedly told them to help themselves. Byers said she wanted nothing of it.

"My big souvenir is seeing the place cleared up," she said. "I look out my kitchen window and I just feel good."

Other neighbors expressed relief that an eyesore has been removed.

"Everybody is really ecstatic about it," said Debbie Reed, a 59-year-old woman who lives down the street.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or email dmann@mailtribune.com.

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