Two run-down houses on Lynn Street that have been a magnet for neighborhood complaints for more than a decade are being torn down this week.
The City of Bellingham is spending up to $150,000 to raze the houses and for cleanup because the properties posed a public health threat and were a public nuisance, city officials said.
Steven K. Baker owns the houses and will continue to own the properties after the tear-down.
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For some 14 years, neighbors have complained about the ramshackle houses, unused cars and piles of garbage on the properties.
Over the years, officials sent Baker notices and citations – requiring him to clean up the mess and make the buildings, which have been condemned, safe for habitation or tear them down.
He didn’t, officials said.
The properties have a host of problems, according to court documents filed by the city in Whatcom County Superior Court.
Holes in the roofs allowed rain in, as did old windows. The roofs also were unstable. At 2512 Lynn St., the porch was starting to collapse and the exterior walls were decaying.
Neither house has garbage, water or sewer service, according to the city.
The city spent $38,863 to clean up the yards in February 2015.
Neighbors have complained of an “overwhelming” smell of mold at both addresses; rats going in and out of the houses, as well as other rodents, and spreading into neighboring homes; and of danger posed by possible fire or collapse of the dilapidated structures.
On Monday morning, a few people from the neighborhood watched as an excavator tore into the house at 2512 Lynn St.
Water was sprayed from three different spots to keep down the dust during demolition.
Next door, a grinning witch and a skeleton sat in rocking chairs, ensnared in a spider web. There were pumpkin and ghost lights. And a Seahawks flag.