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San Diego to clean up Logan Heights home plagued by squatters, fights and a suspected overdose death

An abandoned Logan Heights home authorities say has been a magnet for problems — including squatters, mounds of trash, and a fire — will be taken over by a receiver to clean it up, the San Diego City Attorney’s Office said Thursday.

San Diego Superior Court Judge James Mangione agreed earlier this week to place the duplex under a receivership, meaning that an outside party would take over the home temporarily to render it safe. The order calls the property “a public nuisance,” and says the violations “substantially endanger the health and safety” of the residents and the public.

The home is on Greely Avenue, off South 30th Street near Logan Avenue. The City Attorney’s Office called it a “drug house.” The office said in court documents that there had been several incidents at the property over the past 18 months: A woman died of a drug overdose, a man was stabbed repeatedly and a dog in distress had to be rescued.

“This property has been a menace to the community for too long,” City Attorney Mara Elliott said in a statement.

In court documents, the city said the home was more than “a blight to the community, it is a drain on City resources.” City staffers have been called to the property 40 times since the start of February 2021, and San Diego police have spent more than 150 hours dealing with problems or complaints there.

The man who owned the home for several years died in 2016. In recent weeks his daughter was appointed as administrator of the property. Neither she nor her representative in the receivership case could be reached for comment Thursday.

Aside from the late owner’s daughter, the civil complaint also lists as a defendant a woman who might be a resident of the duplex. The filing says the woman told city staffers she lives in one of the homes, but the owner told the city the woman is squatting.

The home is supposed to be vacant, city authorities said. On Thursday, a woman honked at a Union-Tribune reporter and asked why he was taking pictures of her home. She then refused to speak with him and entered the home. A second person came out to yell over the duplex fence, telling the reporter to leave.

Cars surrounded the home on the concrete and gravel driveways. A makeshift living room with leather couches was set up on the lawn. A hollowed out tree on the property featured a shrine devoted to Mary, mother of Jesus, with an image in her likeness, candles, lights and a wooden cross.

Neighbors setting up Christmas decorations said they had not had a problem with the occupants inside the home. They noted a heavier law enforcement presence in the area recently.

City staffers have inspected it 15 times over 15 months but it still remains out of compliance, the city stated in court documents.

According to the complaint, two stolen cars were reported at the property in May 2021, and a fire broke out in a bedroom while as many as 20 people were inside the home.

A city inspector stopped by later and reported seeing piles of trash, graffiti and dilapidated fencing.

That same month, a woman who was there with a 2-year-old child was seen smoking white powder from a pipe and also kicking another woman, according to the complaint. And two days after that, a 34-year-old woman known to be homeless — and who had previously been seen using methamphetamine — was found dead at the home.

Another person at the duplex told police that a lot of people used drugs at the site.

San Diego officials told the court there were broken windows throughout the duplex, which had no heating. The building lacked some lighting and drywall, which left wiring exposed. Windows were boarded up and debris blocked exits.

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