LOYALTON, Calif. (KOLO) A group of residents gatherS in the street at the Loyalton Mobile Home Park to voice a complaint they all share.
"They gave us 10 days to get out or they're going to bulldoze it."
They are angry, frustrated and scared.
Some have lived at this run down mobile home park for a number of years. Others are more recent arrivals, but it is home to more than two dozen, at least Monday. By the end of the week they will have to find new homes.
"It's terrifying to know that you're out on the street," says Lisa Melton. "I don't want to be out on the street."
She looks small and frail, sitting in a wheelchair. She says she lost most of her belongings when her mobile home was torn down days before while she says she was at the other end of the street at a friend's home.
She says most of her belongings went with the structure.
"I did find my tool box."
The residents were getting official notice of that deadline last Friday and though they've known for some time that they might be told to leave, the news has caught them by surprise without the planning or --for some--even the means to comply.
"Some of us would have had the money to move because a lot of us are on social security, disability," says Quinn Norris, who says he grew up in the park. "But they're telling us to move before we're even getting our money at the end of the month. That's just horrible timing."
Built in the 1950s, the park is at the end of a long downhill slide. Its problems, including a faulty sewer system, were unaddressed for years by an absentee, apparently neglectful, owner. He's walked away, abandoning property and, apparently responsibility. The bank holding his mortgage has done the same, apparently writing off a nearly $700 thousand note.
The state suspended the park's license nearly two years ago. No rent has been collected since then. Word spread and squatters moved into some units. Things got worse. The county tried but failed to sell the property for back taxes. So, the court appointed a health and safety receiver to take charge.
They've determined the park is beyond renovation or repair, and its last week with the park's permit now revoked, they acted against homes that were deemed abandoned or at least illegally occupied. For some the news came very abruptly.
"The guy that owns this trailer right here," says resident Gary Jackson, pointing to a pile of debris, "He got up this morning and came over from Reno and he looked at his trailer and said, 'What the hell happened?' Trashed them, smashed them."
For his part, the receiver says he recognizes the difficulty his deadline poses for these residents. And, in a statement sent to us, Mark Adams, President of California Receivers Group, he says he's willing to help if approached with specific needs,
"Our team is committed to humane and compassionate efforts for the people who are currently occupying the units. I understand that finding housing on a ten-day basis is a great challenge."
But he argues it would be dangerous not to impose that deadline.
"We have to vacate the units immediately because simply stated, it's not safe for anyone to be on that site. The Santa Rosa fires are a very recent and dramatic example of just how fast a fire can take out an entire community. And the Santa Rosa houses weren't tinderboxes like these coaches."
Residents--he says--should be leaving now.
The battles may not be over. Residents met Monday afternoon with an attorney, hoping for a reprieve. At the moment, however, years of neglect and legal limbo may have caught up with this park and its residents may be out of options.