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No money to help remaining Duroville residents

By Megan Terlecky, News Channel 3 Anchor & Reporter, megan.terlecky@kesq.com
Published On: Feb 19 2013 06:54:52 PM CST
THERMAL, Calif. -

We are learning more about the declining conditions at the condemned east Valley trailer park -- known as Duroville.  The people who still call the place home are forced to live among trash, because no one's picked it up for three weeks, yet the residents are still paying for trash service.

The people in charge say they know about the problem, but say there is nothing they can do.

Tom Flynn is the court-appointed receiver for the trailer park, "I need help."

Our crews checked the area a day after our initial report and the trash is still piled up in front of homes, and the trailer's dumpster is overflowing.  

"They need to pick it up.  The trash is not good here," said a resident who didn't want to be identified.

We did see two workers Tuesday moving some trash, but they hardly made a dent.

"We almost have twice as much trash per unit now than we did a year ago, 'cause as families move out of here, there is just unbelievable amounts of trash being left behind. But, there is no revenue.  The only revenue comes from the residents who are living here," said Flynn.

Flynn says with people moving out, the money to keep the trailer park livable is disappearing.

"The federal government never put in $1 to stabilize the community, they wanted it closed," said Flynn.

The trash is only part of the problem, the electrical and sewer systems are barely holding together; and the trailers are falling apart.

"I was told by the demolition guys that some of them they barely touch them.  When it's time to demolish them, they just cave in on themselves," said Flynn.

The one we found leaning dangerously next to a home with children, Flynn says caved in.

"It wasn't a place that was halfway demolished and left standing.  It basically, the family moved out of there, it started to collapse on one side as scavengers starting taking away siding," said Flynn.

It will stay that way because Flynn says that trailer isn't on the county's demolition list.

"Somebody is going to need to help us because the county contract only covers the units where residents are going from Duroville to Mountain View (the new trailer park)," said Flynn.

"Because there is no money does that mean we let them fail?" said Luis Olmedo, an environmental activist.

"I don't like any of it and if we could get it out in the next 15 minutes I would do," said Flynn.

Flynn says there is a plan for all of this trash and debris to be removed.  The Indian Bureau of Affairs does have the money for this very thing, but can't tap into it until everyone is moved out.  Riverside County is building new trailers as fast as it can, but until it's ready, these families are left here to wait.

"I keep hoping we are not going to have a major sewer break," said Flynn.  "Because I'm not quite sure what we are going to do when and if those things happen over the next 60 days."

The only solution Flynn says, would be private businesses or non-profits stepping-in until Duroville is closed.

"There needs to be a lot more helping hands. If we can get companies to maybe help come by once a week," said Olmedo.  "It's going to take creative solutions from everyone."