Poteau Family Fights Demolition Order

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POTEAU (KFSM)—The city of Poteau reportedly wants a home to be torn down, calling it a safety hazard to the neighborhood, but the family who owns the property is fighting back.

The residence is located at 610 Parker Ave., and was supposed to be torn down this week, but Attorney Steven Minks, who’s representing the owner Patsy West, filed a temporary restraining order to put the demolition on hold.

“I thank God every moment of the day because I don't want to see my mother's heart broken,” West’s daughter Bridget Evans said.

Evans’ 79-year-old mother is staying up the street from the property and is bedridden after a fight with brain and breast cancer. The city has reportedly called the home an eyesore and a danger to students at Pansy Kidd Middle School across the street.

We asked Evans why the city wants to demolish the home.

“They say it would bring up property value and that they're getting complaints I guess from the neighbors,” Evans said.
“I don't know what right the neighbors has to complain.”

Minks added, “I'm not sure why that would be a concern for the mayor or the city council raising Patsy West's property values unless there's some other ulterior motive.”

Minks has sued the city and Mayor Jeff Shockley individually.

“What we've asked the court to do is put this on hold and let's figure out if this is done lawfully,” Minks said. “If it is then it is. If it's not, then we want the city to back off and we want some attorney’s fees and some compensation for the pressure that we've been placed under and for the trouble they've had to go through. The money they've had to dump into fixing property that may or may not be broken.”

The family hired a friend to clean up the yard and is staying there rent-free in return. The family said they have complied with the city’s demands.

“There is no danger to the public,” Minks said. “There are no falling bricks or anything that's dangerous. The property's fenced off so children can't just walk in here. It's not overgrown.”

Mayor Shockley said he will go out to the home on Wednesday (June 28). He said if it is up to code, the city will reverse the demolition order.

A date has not been set yet for a judge to hear this case, but a judge did sign off on an emergency stay to keep the home from being demolished before that happens.