Neighbors looking for new homes after being evicted from their h - KPTV - FOX 12

Neighbors looking for new homes after being evicted from their homes by Skamania County

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SKAMANIA COUNTY, WA (KPTV) -

Several tenants in a rural Skamania County neighborhood have been evicted without cause in the middle of winter after a vote by the Board of Commissioners.

Residents of the Wind River Work Camp, just east of Carson, received notices to vacate their homes in October.

They were given 40 days to pack up and leave.

Darla Wilkerson-Sauls, an amputee who recently had surgery to remove part of her remaining foot, said she has been unable to find a new place to live, due in large part to her medical problems.

"It's virtually impossible for me to get out of my house right now because I can't walk," said Wilkerson-Sauls.

The five homes in question were given to the county by the U.S. Forest Service, which originally used them to house employees of the Wind River Work Center, which once served as the agency's nursery and research station for the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest.

The county found itself in the unusual position of acting as a landlord in the late 1990s.

As a condition of the property transfer, the county agreed to maintain the historic homes, some of which were built during the depression era by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

"We've had discussions with them (the Forest Service), and one of the issues they've had with us is that we haven't maintained the properties they gave us to the levels they would have expected to see," said Bob Hamlin, the chairman of the board of commissioners.

Hamlin said he sympathizes with the tenants, but also has to act in the best interest of Skamania County taxpayers.

The rental homes, which were intended to generate revenue for the cash-strapped county, are instead costing more money than they're bringing in for the county.

"We look at the situation as either we do nothing and the situation never changes, or we try to do something and improve the situation," said Hamlin.

Wilkerson-Sauls, though, doesn't know what to do and no place to go.

"I can understand what desperation means a little more," said Wilkerson-Sauls. "I just wish they'd show some compassion and humanity."

Wilkerson-Sauls' eviction hearing is scheduled for January 26.

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