ASHLAND, Ore. — Law enforcement officers, firefighters, and City officials descended on a property in Ashland on Monday, shutting down and taking over an "illegal boarding house," according to a statement from the City of Ashland.
The City said that a homeowner named Derek Allen Hinger converted his 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home in the 700-block of Elkader Street into a warren of 11 rental units.
"The illegal conversion of the residence placed the occupants into serious life safety hazards," the City said.
Back in August of 2018, the City said that execution of a search warrant discovered the illegal conversion, after which Hinger entered into a deferred plea agreement. The plea required that Hinger submit to inspections from Ashland Code Enforcement over a period of 10 months.
"Code Enforcement would post the property 24 hours in advance of the inspection to comply with the Oregon Landlord Tenant Laws," the City said. "Derek Hinger and Rob Hisamoto would arrive at the property after the posting late at night or first thing in the morning, remove doors and occupant belongings giving the appearance they were complying with the court order prior to the Code Enforcement Inspection."
Multiple tips and subsequent surveillance by Ashland Police confirmed that Hinger and Hisamoto, with some unidentified accomplices, were taking out doors, mattresses, and personal items and then placing them in "self-moving style vans," the City said.
Ashland Police also obtained video evidence of the illegal boarding house while searching for a theft suspect on January 14 — finding that the "illegally constructed rooms were occupied again."
Finally, on Monday, Ashland Fire and Rescue, Ashland Police Department, Ashland Building Department and Ashland Code Enforcement served an inspection warrant on the house — removing the occupants, the shutting off both water and power. Utilities will remain shut down pending a hearing with the Ashland Municipal Judge.
"Enforcement in complaints of illegal occupancy are required to avert such tragedies as the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland, CA on December 2, 2016 where 36 people perished," the City said.