There are many ways a piece of private property can fall into a terrible condition.  A family medical issue may distract a homeowner.  The loss of a job may delay home repairs or maintenance.  Or advancing age may prevent an older person from caring for their home as they had for years.  Many times a neighbor may come over to help out, or a church youth group or service club.

But, too many times the property goes unaddressed – accumulating junk cars or solid waste – to the point where it impacts the community. That’s when our Code Enforcement Team goes to work.  Their job is helping maintain our community standards (as represented by our Pierce County Code).  Most of the time, they can work with the property owner to get it cleaned up.  But occasionally, when the owner can’t or won’t, our Code Enforcement team steps in with a court order and a specialized contractor. I have seen the “before” and “after” pictures and the transformation is dramatic.

But I was not really prepared for what I saw on January 18th out on the Key Peninsula.  This once proud and cared for six-acre property was awash in junk cars, garbage, and some unsafe structures.  As it turns out the elderly owner was being exploited by criminals who both trashed the property and used it as a hub of their criminal activity.

That’s where Pierce County came to the rescue. It took a strong partnership between Code Enforcement, Human Services, the Sheriff’s Department, the Prosecutor’s Office, and our specialty contractor.  A powerful team arrived on the property, led by Nick Waggood, our Pierce County Building Official, and reclaimed the property and supported the owner.

You can see some of what I saw on this episode of Inside Pierce County.  You’ll be blown away by the finished product!

I could not be more proud of our Pierce County Team.  They reclaimed the property for the owner and for the neighbors. too!

Thanks for reading, and thanks for what you do everyday for the people of Pierce County,

Bruce Dammeier