Tulsa's Working in Neighborhoods approves demolition of 4 homes as city faces backlog

Posted at 11:15 PM, Aug 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-26 00:28:46-04

TULSA--The city recently gave the green light to demolish four blighted properties.

On Johnstown Avenue on the city’s north side, three homes-- all next to each other—are in violation of city code.  But just one of the properties is in the demolition stage. It’s a process that often takes longer than neighbors hope it would.

Behind every house set for demolition, there is a story. For Steven Robinson, it was early in the morning July 4th when his house went up in flames. The damage led to a recent demolition order.

"They put a lien on the property because they want their money and I don't have nothing to give them," Robinson said.

Robinson has three years to pay the bill for demolition and clean up. According to a city spokesperson, the typical demolition costs about $5,000. 

"I had 15 years of my kids pictures and you know things like that destroyed everything I owned destroyed and they want to take everything else from me," he said.

The process begins with a complaint.  The city works with owners to address problems-- but if the violations aren't fixed, a hearing is set. After the hearing, the owner gets 30 days to comply. After that it takes three or four months before the property is razed, according to the city.

Tulsa has 2 grant-funded demolition ispectors who handle all the cases in the city.

The city has completed 314 demos the last three years. There are still 268 open demo cases.



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