Oregon family living a nightmare after purchasing a meth-contaminated home
In July 2017, Travis and Denay Tubbs thought they had found their dream home in Jefferson, Oregon. The sprawling property contained enough space for them and their seven kids and it would serve as a good home base as Travis pursued a degree at Oregon State University. Later, after Travis retired from the military, it would become their retirement home.
“This was the perfect opportunity to come back, buy a house that we could retire to, and go to school and be close to family,” said Travis Tubbs.
But Tubbs family says their dream experience has become a nightmare. Soon after purchasing the home, they discovered it was severely contaminated with methamphetamine.
“Of the 23 rooms we had tested, 23 of them came back positive for meth contamination,” said Tubbs.
It has forced the family to camp out on their property in a series of campers, tents, and RVs. The home is gutted and still needs to be decontaminated and cleaned. They have filed a lawsuit seeking close to a million dollars to cover the costs of clean-up and restoration.
“My opinion is that this is a process being slowed down hoping that we’ll get to a place where we’re desperate enough to settle for a lower price,” said Tubbs.
Tubbs, a native Oregonian, is a major in the U.S. Air Force. His superiors want him to teach at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Before he can do that, he has to earn a degree. He’s doing that at Oregon State University.
“When I asked what I was supposed to teach, my colonel said ‘go learn about plants, I need a plant guy,’” said Tubbs. “So I’m here to learn about plants and crop sciences.”
After he’s finished, he and the family will move to Colorado Springs to finish out his military career. Tubbs had hoped to keep his new home in Jefferson and move there when he retired.
“We were super excited to get the house until probably three days after we closed on it,” said Tubbs.
Tubbs only saw the home briefly in person before he bought it. His real estate agent had a better look. However, meth contamination isn’t part of a standard home inspection and it doesn’t leave behind visible evidence or anything that can be smelled.
A lawsuit filed in Marion County Circuit Court names Eugene realtor Jody Draper and another man named Brad Dumilieu, among other parties. Those court documents claim Draper and Dumilieu owned the home together and that Dumilieu lived in the home. Tubbs says it was Dumilieu who disclosed the meth after the sale was closed. Tubbs also says Draper claimed to be unaware of the contamination.
“Brad pulled my real estate agent aside because I hadn’t even gotten up to Oregon yet and said, ‘hey, your family can’t live here because this place is contaminated with meth,’” recounts Tubbs.
Later tests performed by Tubbs confirmed it. The family also encountered other issues.
“I unplugged one outlet and by unplugging it all the power in the house went out,” Tubbs recalled. “In my mind I said you can’t unplug a house. It doesn’t work that way.
Court documents claim previous residents had cut or illegally tampered with electric lines and the home needed to be rewired. The costs have added up quickly.
“Buying the trailer that we live in, paying for the electrical expenses, paying for the lawyers,” Tubbs says.
So far, settlement talks have failed. The Tubbs Family is now headed to a final arbitration showdown sometime in 2019. They’re hopeful things will go their way so they can finally live in the home they intended to.
“It’s a money pit, but it’s a money pit that if it was done right, it would have been a perfect situation,” said Tubbs. “It would have been an ideal home for myself and my family.”
KATU News reached out to the defendants listed in the lawsuit, but didn’t hear back.
The family has set up a GoFundMe account if you'd like to help with expenses.