If someone had walked into last week’s City Council meeting unaware of the topic of discussion, they might have thought a pet store or a small zoo was under debate. At the podium, folks talked about skunks, mice and an enormous St. Bernard. All those critters have lived at or near 636 Evans, a University-area property for which owners Brad and Adina Roe have requested a boundary relocation. Neighbors protested the request, which they see as unwanted infill. Protest is nothing new. Along with a typically NIMBYite flavor, however, this hearing brought folks to protest the request because they don’t believe the Roes are responsible landlords.
“He is, in effect, an absentee landowner as far as I can tell,” says Jean King, who lives two houses down. (In fact, the Roes live in Missoula and manage the property themselves.)
She believes that the Roes have the power to institute rules—like lower volumes in the wee hours of the morning and regular dog-doo pick-up. Instead, she and other neighbors contend with a long list of grievances, like skunks and noise and trash.
“Yesterday,” says King, “there were 11 cars parked on this street. Eleven cars? Hell.”
Brad Roe doesn’t deny that skunks and trash have been a problem at 636 Evans, but denies that those problems are specific to him, citing five letters from the city to nearby homeowners documenting similar concerns. He’s been targeted with “hostile” complaints, he says, because the neighbors are opposed to a second rental unit being built on his property.
At last week’s Council meeting, a friend of some of Roes’ tenants said a rodent problem was so extreme her friends decided to make light of it. Along a wall, they tallied the number of mice they’d killed. It’s a different rental, at 715 Beckwith, but also owned by the Roes.
On a recent sunny Sunday, three guys drink beers in front of that house.
“He’s a good landlord,” says tenant Rob Lindner. “He’s a laid-back landlord.”
A window remained broken all winter long, but the tenants say they themselves failed to report it.
“Brad has been on top of it when we’ve reported it,” says housemate Jeff Vanderstouw.
The mice tally, which also went unreported: 10 mice in three months.