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Monday, 3 January 2011

Foreclosures in Lane County

A few streets east of us, this house (which we've dubbed the Clown House) exemplifies the anger and frustration that grips many ex-homeowners in Eugene. Maybe since we moved to Eugene we are seeing things with fresh eyes, or maybe because we bought and sold a house last year, we are very aware of houses going up for sale in the area, and pick up fliers about houses that draw our interest.

There seem to be more houses for sale than we might expect, and some are for sale due to foreclosures. The irony is that the dispossessed and evicted residents, pushed out by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and other major mortgage lenders, are usually in trouble due to unemployment, indirectly caused by the dubious business practises of the past decade of...Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. So the people whose lives are being destroyed doubly blame these institutions for their plight, first for costing them their jobs and then for taking their houses. Meanwhile the government bailout of the FMs are likely to cost the US taxpayer $154 billion.

Back to the Clown House, we first noticed it before the clown face was painted, and it stuck out as the "undesireable neighbour" due to the litter in the garden, the unkempt grass, and the dark and dingy aspect of the house itself. Maybe the owners were already under the hammer and awaiting eviction. The house now stands empty as you see it, dragging down the value of any house in the neighbourhood. A select band of Realtors and their agents have the task of surveying such properties, cleaning them out, and getting them back into a saleable condition. It's a messy job as the houses have often been vandalised by their former owners, but according to a recent article in the Register-Guard, the workers are glad to still have a job. Many people don't.


  1. We've got a number of those in town as well. None with clown faces, but I recognize the dingy, drab, unkempt aura. (Sometimes I think my house looks like that, but not quite.)

    Just recently I noticed by accident--browsing local listings online, as a matter of curiosity--that long-time neighbors whose kids went to school with ours were gone and foreclosed on. I'm not the most "in" on neighborhood connectedness, so I don't yet know where they went.

    Some houses in our area have looked like that forever, yet have been continually inhabited and are not in foreclosure. In these cases, I think it's a matter of people whose problem isn't an oversized mortgage, but rather any of a number of other things which prevent them from holding home maintenance as a priority. This I understand as well.

  2. "If you've ever mowed your lawn and found a car, you might be a redneck." --Jeff Foxworthy

  3. actually, I am the current owner of the "clown house"... The Register Guard did not bother to check their facts about this property, preferring to include one small paragraph about it, included in a larger article about people who destroyed their homes while leaving them, in which all they could say was that neighbors were "upset by the clown" or something to that nature...

    Truth be known, the house is in foreclosure, but I did try my best to work with the mort. co., until it was obvious they didn't care to work with me. The clown was not painted by me, it was painted by someone who thought she was being supportive in regards to 12 years of ongoing harassment by other neighbors and their kids who felt they knew enough about my private life and sexual preferences to have the right to call me a fagg*t, thrown rotting carcasses onto my property, step on my flowers amongst other things, none of which were ever followed up on by the police...

    Not sure I get the clown connection, but I guess the artist figured it was something like "here's to you, you bunch of clowns" or whatever...I would have preferred to leave it as a solid black void, much like the person formerly occupying it was made to feel.

  4. I think the clown looks awesome. if i wasnt worried about what other people think so much i would have one too. its not the clown, it sounds like its all the houses around the clown that are full of trash.