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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Fire at 1881 Oakdale Ave

The building at 1881 Oakdale Ave, the site of Saturday night's fire that has displaced several families, has had multiple abandoned building complaints with the SF Department of Building Inspection dating back to 2004, with six of the seven complaints against this property coming in just the last two years. The latest notice of violation of the abandoned building ordinance, issued by the Code Enforcement Section of DBI, was sent  to the property owner just three days before the fire.  Coincidence?

The crazy thing here that may not surprise anyone who's tried to get a blighted building in their neighborhood cleaned up, is that there are seven separate complaints to the DBI regarding the same thing - an abandoned/hazardous building at 1881 Oakdale.  During the past EIGHT years, a total of FORTY-FOUR separate actions were taken against this property by DBI, including issuance of SEVEN first notices of violation, FIVE second notices of violation, posting of FOUR director's hearing notices, while FOUR building inspections were made, all involving ELEVEN inspectors from DBI!!!   And yet, the building continued to fall apart and dozens of people ended up being put at significant risk.  Does this seem to you like a system that works!?!

According to Michael Hamman, chair of the India Basin Neighborhood Association and an involved Bayview resident who has seen this happen all too often in our neck of the woods, "There are many, many, other buildings with the same history just waiting to burn down.   In addition to the obvious fire hazard, this inordinate amount of blight in our community contributes to crime and a diminished quality of life for all of us.  We need to change the system and FORCE DBI to actually act.   The law provides for the City to actually make the repairs and bill the property owner, but DBI refuses to take that step, simply issuing NOV (Notice of Violation), after NOV, all to no effect!"

The official cause of the fire is as yet unknown, according to reports in the SF Examiner.

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