Three Meth Contaminated Buildings Remain Closed In Washington

By Mark Carlson, Reporter

WASHINGTON, Iowa - Nearly six months after a Washington apartment building was shut down for methamphetamine contamination, many former residents still don't have their property back.

"They're not even showing any movement to get that thing torn down or cleaned up so we could get our stuff," said Nels Miller, a former Goncho Apartments resident who now believes he'll never see his personal belongings again. "It's a sad case."

Washington police chief Greg Goodman said property owners have made some progress since the building was shutdown in January.

"At this point they're working with their insurance to figure out what's best," said Goodman. "The city is going to stand firm on the fact that this is a community hazard."

Goodman said the building will require professional clean-up before the city will let anyone return. Police have shutdown two other buildings after discovering meth labs in the last several months, including a warehouse and a home, which had been divided into apartments. All three buildings sit near downtown, clearly marked "unsafe to occupy."

"[Meth] put everybody out," said former Goncho resident Maurice Jones. Jones said he doesn't plan to return, but would like to get his things back.

Goodman said property owners can either tear the property down or clean it up. At this point there is no clear timetable on how long the buildings will be allowed to remain in their current state, Goodman said.

"This is a long process," he said. "The city does not feel right about finding a meth lab at a location, then walking away."
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