Broken Arrow prepares to demolish abandoned homes after years of neglect

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. -- Debbie Jordan has lived on East 45th Street for 25 years.

Jordan said during that time the amount of nuisance properties has only grown. Now, Jordan says there are dozens in the area, and it's impacting Broken Arrow families.

"Just overall the appearance," Jordan said. "We have such a beautiful neighborhood. If it had the attention that it needed it could be really nice."

Jordan is relieved Broken Arrow City Council announced this week plans to demolish multiple homes, including this property. She called the city many times, saying abandoned homes can be a safety concern.

"Rats and snakes, possums, raccoons... different things coming in," Jordan said. "They have a place to hide."

Jordan said the house next door has been abandoned for at least five years. But Broken Arrow's communications director said code enforcement tries to engage property owners first.

"Nuisance abatement is really the last resort measure that the city takes," City of Broken Arrow Director of Communications' Krista Flasch said. "We want to work with the property owner to get the property up to code because we don't want to get to the point where we have to demolish a structure."

It's only after an investigation, a warning, a hearing, and multiple 30 day grace periods that an order can be obtained for demolition. Sometimes it takes months for enforcement to track down the owner at all. But neighbors are hopeful for change.

"Who wouldn't want to live in a neighborhood that the appearance is nice?," Jordan said. "Who wouldn't want that? I desire that for my neighborhood because it is a beautiful place to live."

You can submit pictures of dilapidated homes directly to code enforcement from your smartphone, or at this website.

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