Travel, Food, and Slices of Life


The Wheels of Justice are Slow

Back in July Graham and I flew from West Virginia to Oregon to locate rental housing for our move the end of the summer. We suspected we would be stuck paying for an extra month of rent but it was the only time we could get there.  We contacted two Realtors to help up in the two towns we were considering and I sent them a list of properties we wanted to see.

Most of the rentals were considerably higher priced than we wanted to budget; certainly higher than the mortgage we had been paying in West Virginia. The relative value of real estate in Oregon is higher and so rentals are higher.

As it turned out we got into only 3 properties and one was an appointment I had set up directly from the ad on Craigslist. What was attractive about this house was the rent was lower, and although it sounded like it had all the components we hoped for, we understood it might be a bit smaller than we wanted. We figured we’d be in it only temporarily until we could be sure where we wanted to buy a house.

So, on the first Sunday we were in Oregon we met Jerry. There was another family there also to see the house. They had four little kids and Graham and I figured we “mature” people would look better to the landlord than a family of six, with four under the age of seven, so we were not surprised he said he would rent to us.

Little did we know that he rented the house to both families….and about 20 other families as well, taking our deposits of first and last month and $500 security. A fairly sizable chunk of change.

Graham found out a few weeks later when he was reading the Portland Oregon newspaper online. The problem had been discovered when two friends met and one was excited to share that her daughter was moving to town. When she shared the address, the other woman slowly responded, that is where my friend is renting a house. They went to the police.

We contacted the police as well. They were thrilled that Jerry had accepted a check from us. He also had signed lease documents with at least one of the other families. These signed papers made it much more substantial than people claiming lost cash.  Jerry was apprehended and put into jail.

The District Attorney’s office has been keeping us informed. We found out that Jerry finally was released on bail a few days ago, in time for today’s hearing.Yamhill CC

For those of you who have lived on the straight and narrow and never attended a court hearing let me assure you it is not as compelling a drama as depicted on television. First of all, the words are amplified primarily for the judge, attorneys, clerks and other first line players to hear, not the audience.  Anything any of the spectators can hear is gratis.

So what I did hear makes me believe a plea bargain is in the works. I heard Jerry’s attorney posture that he had not received adequate notice about the counter by the State. The District Attorney assured the judge that the notice had been sent in writing and by email so many days ago. But she leaned over and spoke softly to the defense attorney who then spoke up to the judge and said “It appears we are further apart than I thought.”

I have no idea what the State wants but this is the minimum I want: each party to get all their money back, every cent of it. I want a spoken apology by Jerry to each family, one at a time, naming our names and all the members of the household’s name, saying he understands he stole our money and it was wrong and he is sorry he caused us hardship. I want some kind of community service where he must work hard….since he played at being a landlord maybe make him work on fixing up houses that are publicly owned.  That is what I think would be fair, considering he has been doing this kind of stuff since the 1970s apparently.justice not blind

Meanwhile, we will have the next hearing November 18. Wonder what kind of excuse the defense attorney will use to get the case continued then.


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Roller Coasters

I have never enjoyed roller coasters. Oh, I’ve gone on them in my past even when I knew I get ill. Sometimes because I was shamed by the people who supposedly cared about me. A few times to take my kids because there was no other adult around.  But no way, no how am I ever willingly getting on a roller coaster again.ROLLERCOASTER

However, life sometimes puts our pathway on one. And all I can do then, like now, is hang on, remember to breathe slowly and believe very firmly that I will be safe and sound with my feet on the ground again very soon.

fr rentThis move to Oregon has been well planned.  We even flew out earlier this summer for the specific purpose of locating a rental, even though it meant we would end up paying an extra month just to hold the property for us.

Our first concern was that the prices of real estate are significantly higher than what we have become used to here in West Virginia. Added to that the concern of no more paychecks by Graham, recently retired, I promised I would get a job to cover the cost of rent when we get out there. And there do seem to be jobs. And we were happy to find a place that was charging under $1000 a month and wrote a check for the first and last months and a security deposit.

It would have been nice if he had had a sign.

It would have been nice if he had had a sign.

Home again in West Virginia and then I was on the road with Sam to drive with him up to University of Vermont. Graham was checking the Oregonian, the Portland newspaper on line when he read that the house we had rented had been rented to at least 8 other people. The guy, who didn’t even own the place, had scammed us.

Well, the police were ecstatic that we had written a check. Everyone else gave the guy cash apparently. So he has been arrested and has been sitting in the slammer for all this time.

Meanwhile, we realized we are homeless. We reached out to the people we had met at St. Barnabas, the Episcopal church in McMinnville, and within a couple of days we not only had a new rental (much nicer than the first) but also a temporary place to stay until the moving truck gets there.

Now, the ride on this roller coaster seemed to be calming down…..but no. The moving company requested us to delay a week. And when we agreed, saying it was the last possible day, they had it all arranged. And now, three days before the truck is supposed to get here to load, we received a call about another delay.movers

I said nope, not going to happen. The “last possible day” was exactly that.  I told them to do whatever they needed to do but I expect the truck here as promised this Friday.  I got a call back about four hours later that Friday is set.

Want to bet on it?