Jonathan Hankins discusses renovations he made in a bathroom at his Radcliffe Avenue house on Wednesday.
Jonathan Hankins walks through a living room at his Radcliffe Avenue house. A year after the Hankins family bought a home in Klamath Falls contaminated by methamphetamine production.
- Using their experience to help
A Klamath Falls pair counts themselves “blessed” they only spent a couple of weeks in a house that tested positive for methamphetamine.
Now they’re making their story a point for activism.
Jonathan Hankins, a local business owner, his wife, Beth, an emergency room nurse, and their 2-year-old son Ezra began developing health issues in June, Jonathan said, after moving into a house at 2427 Radcliffe Ave.
After a neighbor told them the house may have been occupied by methamphetamine users, the family had the house tested, ordering a swab kit and mailing the test to a lab in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The results were well over Oregon Health Authority’s acceptable thresholds.
The couple took the issue to their real estate broker, their mortgage lender and the bank that owned the foreclosed property but they heard no response.
Everyone told them there are few options for a meth-positive house.
Under Oregon law, sellers must disclose issues with a property including whether it was used as a drug lab.
But banks and other lenders are exempt from disclosure laws because they don’t live in the homes they sell. That means potential buyers have to learn some other way whether a house contains meth residue.
Hankins filed a petition with for-profit social justice advocacy giant Change.org earlier this month demanding Freddie Mac pay for remediation of the house.
He said his hope is eventually banks will be required to test foreclosed homes and disclose whether they contain drug-related contaminants before selling the properties to unsuspecting buyers.
The Hankins moved in with Beth’s parents and now rent a house. But “imagine if the family didn’t have the knowledge to test, or the resources to move out,” Jonathan said.
On Thursday, Change.org spokesman William Winters said via email the group is set to push the petition to site members in an email blast. Winters didn’t specify how many people the site’s email blasts reach however, Change.org petitions have the potential to gather millions of signatures.
Posted: Friday, August 24, 2012 12:00 am
Updated: 4:12 pm, Sat Aug 25, 2012.
Friday, August 24, 2012 12:00 am.
Updated: 4:12 pm.