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Saturday, October 3, 2009

A locked fence now blocks the entrance at the former Signs of Victory Mission

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Mark Ylen/Democrat-Herald
A locked fence now blocks the entrance at the former Signs of Victory Mission.
Mission needs new home
By Cathy Ingalls
Albany Democrat-Herald

Ownership dispute leads to second eviction for Signs of Victory

For the second time, the Signs of Victory Albany Mission has been evicted from its shelter headquarters at 705 Lyon St. S.E.

The eviction was part of an on-and-off again property dispute between George Matland and sister Gayle Armstrong, who manage the homeless shelter, on the one side, and property owner Don Taylor and Associates on the other.

So that the shelter cannot reopen and to keep burglars off the site, a fence was placed at the steps to the front door.

Matland said he now is looking for two or three houses to rent or lease that would hold six to eight people each.

When the shelter closed in November, Matland said, there were about 21 people living there. He has found housing for everyone around the city, including in his house and in a duplex next door to his house on Seventh Avenue, which is around the corner from the former mission.

Anyone with a home to rent can contact Matland at (541) 990-7618. He prefers that the homes be in the downtown area as many who need housing do not have a car or a driver’s license.

The mission first was evicted from the 99-year-old former boarding house in August 2007, although there were efforts prior to that to move the mission from the premises.

Matland and Armstrong, and their late mother, Virginia, had bought the house from Alta Taylor, formerly of Albany.

In November 2007, Taylor began foreclosure proceedings. Although the Matlands said they owned the house, they had borrowed money from Taylor to run the operation. Taylor contended the loan was not paid back, so until true ownership was established, Taylor told the Matlands to leave.

Then there was a burglary at the house and, according to Matland, Taylor said the shelter could move back in to help protect her investment.

Later, Taylor attempted to sell the property at a non-judicial sale on the Linn County Courthouse steps. One prospective bidder showed up, but he declined to bid after hearing there were three outstanding mortgages on the property.

Since then, the Taylors have tried to sell the house, but there have been no takers.

Matland said he owes the Taylors money but there is a question about how much. He suggests the $2,800 worth of donated roofing materials in the shed on the property go toward the debt and that the $9,000 in house repairs he has made should be counted as well.

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