Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman. Second-to-last image from the Johnny Northside blog. Final image from www.cracked.com.
One of the nice parts about fresh snow is that when we have vacant properties on a block, it's far easier to tell when somebody's been snooping around. On my way home for lunch today, I happened to drive past 621 26th Ave N, a property I know well. Tracks in the snow clearly indicated somebody had been scoping the property out, so I followed suit. I went around to the back and I found...
|For anyone who hasn't gone on the famous photo tour, this is what we call a Pamiko Rail.
...more or less exactly what I had suspected, and called 311. 621 26th Ave N has been vacant as long as I've been in Hawthorne. Up until recently, it was owned by Paul Koenig, under his Pamiko LLC. At one point when Koenig was losing properties hand over fist, a resident nearby reported that people associated with the owner were removing bathtubs and other fixtures from the place, effectively stripping it of whatever value it might have had. And though the house is in rough shape, you can tell that it used to be something special.
The lead photo on this JNS post shows a profile of the house today. But at one time, before the porches were closed off to make more bedrooms, I'm sure this house was gorgeous--maybe even majestic. Now it's been slummified to the point where a raze order has been posted.
|Photo by the Hawthorne Hawkman, originally appeared on Johnny Northside.
Other people can get worked up about whether demolition in this case is the right step. As for me, I'm angered about something slightly different. Paul Koenig owned this property for years. He either remodeled it into something it wasn't in an attempt to squeeze more rental income out of the place, or he did nothing to correct a previous owner's bastardization of the house. Then he let it sit vacant. People did work on the property, and whether it was quality work or not, somebody's livelihood hinged on getting paid for their labor. That never happened. The city and county, in the midst of budget crises, also have had significant fines levied against the property, and those were never repaid.
The house languished in a state of disrepair and was never once put on the market at its true value (which, admittedly, was probably close to zero). So although it became such a blight that it's been slated for demolition, Koenig's negligence directly kept the home from having a chance at any other fate. And he has done this over...and over...and over. I am in a state beyond disgust right now, and find myself asking, what kind of person DOES these things?
|Oh, right. THAT kind of person.