Neighbors look for help with vacant home in St. Johns they say is a drug house

A neighbor posted a sign outside of this St. Johns home. (KATU Photo)

At first look, the sign may catch your eye. It's handwritten and you may think, "garage sale." But look closer.

In red letters are the words "drug house."

“It seemed like overnight, squatters came in and started using drugs,” neighbor Rob Metnick said.

Rob Metnick has lived in the St. Johns neighborhood for five years. It wasn’t until last summer the house became vacant.

And just over a week ago, he says, he and his neighbors noticed squatters moved in.

“These houses can quickly turn into -- all of a sudden going from 5 to 10 people to 100 people squatting here overnight,” Metnick said.

One neighbor even went inside, getting video showing sleeping bags and piles of needles in at least two of the rooms.

Metnick, who is a dad of two, says he's worried for not only his kids but the dozen others who live on the street.

“Needles on the ground are always a concern for kids, especially younger kids who don’t know what they are,” Metnick said.

He says they've tried to get help from the city and the property owner. When squatters kept coming back, one neighbor made a sign, hoping there is power in numbers.

“If they see [the sign] they are able to participate and able to help clean this house up,” Metnick said, hoping more will call the city and help make not only this home safe but the dozens of others across the city.

“I was incredibly disappointed and shame on the city for letting this happen and shame on the police for not wanting to protect and serve,” Metnick said.

Metnick says neighborhoods shouldn’t be left alone or at risk.

KATU News reached out to the company who owns the house and did not hear back.

We also reached out to Portland police about how many calls and complaints they have received about the property and were told to file a public records request. They also said they were unavailable to speak about the vacant home reporting process Monday.

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