Friday, July 25, 2008

Taking it personally

In response to this ridiculous letter in the GT (it's the first one), I wrote my own letter. This is the important part:

I have to take issue with Jerry Duerksen’s July 23 letter defending landlords. The situation, at least for this seven-year Corvallis renter, is not the rosy picture Mr. Duerksen points out. A few years ago, I lived in one of the properties managed by his company. When I turned on the exterior water faucet, water leaked into the floor in my house, right where the baseboard heater was. Repeated letters to Duerksen and Associates got no response whatsoever, even when I cc’d them to the actual owner of the property. Needless to say, I didn’t stay long, and I’ll never rent from Duerksen again.

What does the GT do? It asks Duerksen to comment on my letter, and then runs his comment below mine:

Editor’s note: Jerry Duerksen’s reply: Dennis Dugan was an excellent tenant for over a year. He received most if not all of his deposit back and left the apartment in excellent condition. Obviously the water leak was repaired, or it would still be leaking today.

Anecdotally, it seems like the GT only ever goes to people in positions of power - city officials or business owners - to give them a sneak peek at a letter or op/ed and allow them to respond. Needless to say, if this is true, I don't think it's good practice. I feel a little sandbagged.

On the other hand, Duerksen's response makes him look even more out of touch. If the best he can do is claim that the water leak has been repaired at some point since I moved out (which has been a full two years), and that I was an excellent tenant, then.... why even respond? He didn't dispute my claim; he just complimented me and sounded clueless about the problem. To me, this just makes his original letter even less credible.


Strayer said...

I wrote a comment, for the online comment section. It never appeared. I addressed it to Mr. Duerkson, asking if he recalled the N. Albany trailer park fire. His company managed the property. An old woman had told me she was experiencing electrical problems at her trailer and finally hired an electrician, who traced the issue to the electrical feed boxes, the owners responsibility. She then contacted Duerkson as the park prop managers and they ignored her letters. The fire occurred in an empty trailer next to hers. She barely got out alive. Even her car burned. She tried to find an attorney to sue him, but finally gave up. Other tenants were so angry, one told me she considered having her young son go set Duerkson's Corvallis office on fire, figuring he'd face lesser consequences as a child. She was just angry and frustrated and had no intention of so doing. Other tenants were unable to protect their trailers with hoses even because the outside water was turned off and had been for quite some time. The article about this fire was in the GT, at the time. The refusal of the GT to post my comment makes me agree with you that they are granting Duerkson extra privilege, for whatever reason.

Strayer said...

I just wanted to add, I knew this trailer park and the story because I'd trapped a ton of cats in that park, cared for by a different old woman, very kind, who used to tell me about Duerkson coming and just standing outside her trailer staring at the porch and making her very uncomfortable. The report in the paper about the fire declared the reason for the fire being aluminum wiring in the empty trailer, next to the old woman's trailer, who lost everything. I ran into the old woman again, again with cat issues, at a different Albany trailer park and that is when she told me the rest of the story. About the previous electrical issues there, and attempts by her to get Duerkson's company to fix the wiring issues, at the boxes feeding electric to the trailers, that were behind the trailers, before the fire, attempts that were ignored.

Anonymous said...

I think the landlord was just trying to be polite and let it go. That is how civilized people, unlike me, try to avoid a fight.

martin said...

I rented from Duerksen and associates for two years in corvallis. They place i lived in had cheap rent, I was trying to save money to pay down debt. The place has a huge rat problem an electrician came by because the lights were flickering and he found chewed wires in the attic and lots of rat shit. still duerkson didnt do anything for 6 months about the rats. A pest service said they should block all the identified rat entry spots but duerksens idea was to just put traps in the house not prevent more from comming in. The place I later relizes smelled like rat piss. I saved money but at what expense to my health?

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