EAST WENATCHEE — Authorities on Thursday tore down what they described as a drug house on Eastmont Avenue after complaints from residents and numerous 911 calls.
The home was at 351 Eastmont Ave., near Eastmont High School and Douglas County Fire District 2 Station 1. Over the last 15 years, police responded to more than 200 calls at the home.
“Everything from robbery, sex assault, overdose, stabbing,” said East Wenatchee Police Chief Rick Johnson. “It’s just kind of been a long time heroin/meth house in East Wenatchee.”
Johnson began looking for ways to remedy the situation when he took over the department in June. He said the property owner wanted the tenants removed and residents often remarked to him the poor state of the house.
“This was a place that if I go to any type of public speaking event I usually get asked about that residence just because it’s so visible and right below the high school,” Johnson said.
He said the home had been occupied by “squatters” until two months ago when they were evicted, Johnson said. He explained the homeowner wanted the tenants to be removed, but couldn’t navigate an eviction ban.
Gov. Jay Inslee put into effect earlier this year a COVID-19 moratorium prohibiting landlords from evicting tenants. However, there’s an exemption in the moratorium that allows for evictions if the landlord or property owner can show the tenants have created a “significant and immediate risk” to the health, safety and property of others.
Police worked with a representative of the homeowner as well as city code enforcement and Douglas County officials to apply for an exemption to the eviction.
The occupants were evicted roughly seven weeks ago, Johnson said. Officials then performed an asbestos abatement and removed hundreds of hypodermic needles from the home to ready it for demolition.
Crews knocked the home down Thursday. Johnson said the property owner intends to sell the lot.