March 18, 2012

Handy Local Dump Site actually had a house under it

San Jose: Crews use huge trucks to clear junk from hoarder home

By Mark Gomez, San Jose Mercury News
Posted:   03/15/2012 06:24:40 AM PDT, Updated:   03/15/2012 08:03:03 AM PDT

120317-claremont-cleanupCrews were in their second day at a San Jose home removing mountains of debris so massive that workers used two hauling trucks, each capable of carrying 72,380 pounds of material, to get the job done.

As of Wednesday morning, they still hadn’t made their way into the backyard.

The extreme makeover at 226 S. Claremont Ave. began Tuesday after a vote last month by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to declare the residence a public nuisance. The piles of junk, garbage and other items, including worn out bicycles, car tires and animal cages, had become so vast that it was visible from satellite photos.

The cleanup, which is expected to take about five days, ends a years-long struggle for neighbors who live in the otherwise well-kept neighborhood located off Alum Rock Avenue.

120317-claremont-pilesThanks very much to Burbed reader Tracy Tea House, who had sent in an earlier story about the residents complaining about the massive piles of garbage at this house.  Looks like once this story hit both what’s left of a newspaper as well as on KGO-7 television news, the County finally took action.

Neighbors have been trying to have the grounds cleaned up since 2005.  Cleanup orders and fines were ignored by Richard Baker, the 58 year old son of the registered homeowners.  People fortunate enough to live near this local attraction suggested that Richard might be a few hundred square feet short of a McMansion.

120317-claremont-satelliteRobert and Bessie Baker, Richard Baker’s parents, have both been deceased for ten years, so management of the house was transferred to the Office of the Public Guardian.  This agency will be responsible for inventorying whatever is in the house, as opposed to the mountains of garbage outside mostly headed for the landfill.  Anything of value inside or out would be saved for the Bakers’ estate, over and above this valuable residence.  In addition to Richard, the Bakers also have a daughter living in Santa Cruz who was only located recently.

Richard had been living in the house while collecting treasures, but not recently.  He did show up at the County hearing to object to the the home’s being declared a public nuisance, although the neither the Murk nor KGO-7 reported on what his reasons were.  He attempted to postpone the hearing because he had been in the hospital, but was unsuccessful. We’d guess the County’s embarrassment over things getting to this point trumped a hospital stay.  Remember all those fines Richard blew off?  Guess they did.

Okay, enough rewording the newspaper and TV articles.  Let’s have a look at this house.


Better have a good look at the driveway, too.


120317-claremont-richardbakerWow, the Streetviews actually look worse than the satellite view.  And someone updated this record recently even though the house wasn’t for sale.

So here’s a way Richard (right) and his sister (who had the sense not to show up when cameras were rolling) could save even more money.  We know the County’s going to stick them with that clean-up bill, so every little bit is going to help!


Thanks for the advice, Trulia!  Anyway, do you have a neighbor building a fortification on the front lawn like this?  Tell us about it in today’s Weekend Open Thread!

Comments (23) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

23 Responses to “Handy Local Dump Site actually had a house under it”

  1. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    So, the property is worth $48k? Finally a sensible price on RE in this area.

  2. waiting_for_the_fall Says:

    My brother-in-law is a hoarder, but he would never admit to being one. He doesn’t clutter up the yard (yet), but keeps 2 or 3 cars that don’t run anymore and fills them with junk. Inside the house, there’s walk-ways between the piles of clothes, papers, junk, etc.

    It’s sad how some people live this way, but I think they can’t help it. It’s a mental illness. His father was the same way. When his father died, he had to go clear out the backyard of his father’s house because it was a junkyard.

    Since hoarding is inherited, I’m glad my sister never had kids.

  3. SEA Says:

    Reminds me of the Collyer brothers.

  4. sprezzatura Says:

    Hoarding is a serious mental disease, unfortunately, and one that is extremely hard to cure. Hoarders simply do not understand that what they are doing is ugly and unsanitary at best or dangerous at worst.

    The really heartbreaking part is when children live with a hoarder.

  5. Petsmart groomer Says:

    Neighbors can finally put their houses on the market.

  6. SEA Says:

    This very non-RBA area is down about 50% from the peak.


    237 S Cragmont Ave

    Sold in August 2005 for $545k
    Listed in August 2011 for $225k (Pending in September)

    14740 Palomino Dr

    Sold in June 2007 for $680k
    Listed in January 2012 for $302k (Pending in February)

    14644 Palomino Dr

    Sold in July 2006 for $650k
    Listed in November 2011 for $375k (Pending in November)

    18 Donna Adelle Ct

    Sold in June 2006 for $893k
    Listed in March 2012 for $485k (Pending with Release)

  7. Crissa Says:

    Even if they understand what they’re doing is unsanitary, that doesn’t stop the compulsion, it just makes it harder for them to navigate their collections and sections spiral out of control.

  8. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    The guy who owns the place I’m on is a hoarder. Little trails through piles of CRAP in the house. Possums walking around in there (until I started trapping ’em). I’ve been able to do *some* improvements around here and keep the weeds down, but if I suggest moving anything or throwing anything out there are always 23 reasons not to do it.

    It’s pretty gross in the guy’s house in front and I don’t go in there unless I have a good reason.

    Now, the old wreck of a trailer I live in isn’t something out of House Beautiful, but I’ve done a ton of repairs and improvements on it, and while I’ve learned to become more of a pack rat, I get as big a kick out of selling stuff (at a decent profit!) as I do acquiring it.

    My take is, Look at that chimney, burn the burnables for heat, take the rest to the recyclers, pay your property tax on that. Keep the stuff that’s actually useful, in the garage or storage shed, not out in the weather. Don’t spend $100 on a nice Kennedy tool box at a garage sale then put it outside and let it turn into rust.

  9. SEA Says:

    JTR TV

    4:15- “It’s easy these days being a listing agent. It seems everyone wants a million–you just list everything for a million bucks. Some people will get it, and some people won’t.”

  10. madhaus Says:

    Petsmart Groomer, check out this house. Close to all the action!

  11. nomadic Says:

    madhaus, that place has the best sales history. ever.

  12. madhaus Says:

    My bad. It’s 4.5 blocks away, on NORTH Claremont, not South. I wonder how big the diameter is of the house-sale-killing-mojo effected by the Baker house.

  13. SEA Says:

    Awaiting moderation: I outlined some of the homes at 50% off in the area.

  14. madhaus Says:

    It’s released and is now post #6. Thank you for visiting Burbed, and have a great RBA day.

  15. PKamp3 Says:

    #6: Interesting finds… I wonder if the negative halo effect (am I forgetting a term? Horn effect?) from this house lowers prices in the immediate area? 2-3 blocks?

  16. SEA Says:

    #15- Back when the RBA was so much larger, there were plenty of buyers willing to pay more regardless of these sorts of things. Busy streets, trains, toxic land, poor construction, and so on meant basically nothing–the so-called over bidding will take care of everything. The basic attitude was So what if it was a Superfund site next to 101. There was never any concern that you paid $100k in REALTOR commissions, more or less, to help you sort out the ever higher bids. Sorting out the best offer was a very challenging feat. Ok, so maybe you only paid $50k in commissions because you had such a lowly property. We all know that the good REALTORs only sell RBA property.

  17. SEA Says:

    Seems to be an infinite supply for burbed:

    228 Daphne Way

  18. madhaus Says:

    SEA, great house for Burbing. I wish you’d submitted it instead of posting it for EVERYONE to look at. Now if we write it up it’s all Been There, Saw That.

  19. SEA Says:

    No worry–there are plenty more where that one came from.

  20. SEA Says:

    From the (former) northern part of the RBA:

    “One Of A Kind Waterfront Property owned by the same family since 1930.”


    Take a look at the first photo!

    11718 Possession Lane

  21. nomadic Says:

    Was the rest of the lot above water at one time? Or maybe just at low tide?

  22. SEA Says:

    I’m sure she’s a REALTOR.

  23. Spring has Sprung, The Price has Riz [] Says:

    […] find an open house a little closer to home.  Thanks to Burbed reader SEA for mentioning this one in comments […]

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