June 20, 2008

City Urged to Act on Nuisances

By Deon Hampton, Tulsa World, Okla.

Jun. 20--Community activists met with city officials Thursday to discuss bringing more attention to public nuisances in a north Tulsa neighborhood.

Members of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or Acorn, and officials from the Department of Working in Neighborhoods met with Cheyenne Park residents.

The focus of the meeting was a home near that of Elreatha Lee, 79, who has lived in the neighborhood for 40 years.

Lee said a property adjacent to hers has grass and weeds about 2 feet tall, making her neighborhood an eyesore.

Although Lee hasn't filed a nuisance complaint with the city's Neighborhood Inspections Department, she said she made two or three such reports last summer.

"I never received a response after making the complaints," she said.

She and Acorn members say this summer will be different.

"We want to show the city that we're serious" about cleaning up the neighborhood, group member Charles Logan said.

The group consists of community groups of low- and moderate-income families.

The organization, founded in Little Rock in 1970, was established in Tulsa in the 1980s. After years of inactivity, it was re-established here

in March.

Phone calls to city officials about the number of nuisance complaints filed in the last year weren't immediately returned Thursday.

Raquel Dawson, a neighborhood liaison for the city, said any resident can file a nuisance complaint. After a report is filed, she said, an inspector will respond within seven to 10 days.

If the property owner is found in violation of city codes, the inspector will send the owner an abatement notice, giving a time frame to bring the property up to code.

If the deadline isn't met, the owner will be fined and forced to pay abatement costs, Dawson said.

BJ Bullock, president of the Cheyenne Park Neighborhood Association, said nuisance complaints will help change the perception of the area and draw attention to broader issues.

"People continue to sell drugs in this neighborhood," she said. "There continues to be crime and a lack of code enforcement."

Before the meeting, Acorn members held a news conference to express their displeasure with the lack of attention the Neighborhood Inspections Department gave the area last summer.

Deon Hampton 581-8413 [email protected]


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