Residents leave, troubled mobile home park closes

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LOYALTON, Calif. (KOLO) By 10AM November 14, 2107, with a bus waiting for those who still needed transportation to a roof over their heads, utilities being shut off, the Loyalton Mobile Estates Park was emptying. .

People who don't have much tend to cling as much of it as they can. Pickups and trailers were hauling all manner of possessions away, destinations unknown.

It was barely three weeks ago these people got the notice most had been expecting for a long time. This park, neglected, then abandoned by its owner, its license suspended nearly two years ago, had racked up a long list of code violations, unpaid property taxes and utility bills.

Some were long-time residents. Others were squatters. None had paid rent in at least the last two years as there was no one to pay rent to.

At deadline time those differences didn't matter. A court-appointed receiver was in charge and carrying out the judge's orders that everyone had to go. It wasn't easy on anyone, harder on some.

"I'm losing everything." Longtime resident Lisa Melton wailed as she moved away from her home in her wheelchair clutching tow small dogs. "I'm losing my animals."

Without a vehicle to haul anything away she was leaving most of what she had behind, but would not leave her dogs. Pets, in fact, were a last-minute heartbreak for many.

"That's why many don't want to leave," said Amanda Osburn, a local teacher who volunteered to round up and find homes for as many dogs and cats as she could. "Their pets are their families. They want to take them with them, but that's not working out for many."

"I've been blessed with many people offering homes in the Sierra Valley and in Reno. Several people in Reno have taken animals from here."

At this late hour, some are still having trouble accepting what's happening. In one unit is a man who refuses to leave. That turned out to be Lisa Melton's friend, Mark Black. Still refusing to leave his home and his pets behind, it took some time and promises that his dogs would be cared for him to be coaxed out. Eventually giving up, he left. The park was closed.

In the end, only five residents boarded the bus to to promised motel rooms in Reno. Others had found temporary lodging, many with friends or family. Lisa Melton and Mark Black weren't among either group.

Angry, defiant and uncertain they could take her two dogs with them, they were last seen slowly heading toward town with two dogs and what was on their backs toward an uncertain future.

Click for earlier stories about this case.