After a Keizertimes report on deteriorating conditions at McNary Oaks, the owner is engaged in a full-court press to fix problems and show them off.
Five days after Keizertimes reported on deteriorating conditions at McNary Oaks Mobile Villa, the manufactured home park was a swarm of activity ranging from sidewalk repairs, clubhouse renovations and tree maintenance.
Keizertimes originally reported on the problem at the park, owned by Irvine, Calif.-based Investment Property Group, LLC (IPG), in the Sept. 27 edition of the paper. That article detailed rampant safety concerns on sidewalks and in other common areas, disrepair in the clubhouse and trees that created a variety of hazards.
In a letter to residents, IPG lambasted the paper’s coverage as one-sided and claims to have undertaken numerous repairs and upgrades since taking ownership of the park in 2007. Most of the completed renovation efforts are confined to common areas and replacing abandoned homes with ones that IPG could sell at a profit and lease the ground under them.
On the matter of the sidewalks, IPG President Amber Monte wrote, “These sidewalk repairs have been in motion for a couple of months, as the scope of the work had to be determined and bids obtained.”
Keizertimes sent a list of questions to Monte and asked her to provide copies of signed and dated bids and contracts proving the work was scheduled prior to the paper drawing attention to the problem. Her response contained no answers to the questions sent.
“Those who saw the community before we purchased it know that we have been a positive part of that change and will continue that investment in the future. This kind of change for the better does not happen overnight and that’s okay. We believe preserving manufactured housing communities like this is very important to the surrounding area,” Monte wrote.
Keizer city councilors noted Keizertimes coverage of McNary Oaks on social media and resulted in an invitation for the entire council to visit the site in the coming weeks. After several councilors expressed interest, the invitation turned into a public work session on Tuesday, Oct. 22. The council will meet at the clubhouse in the park at 5:30 p.m. As an official council work session, any member of the public can attend the tour.
In the letter to residents, Monte writes that the sidewalk repairs planned in the coming days will cost north of $400,000. IPG is a private company and its revenue statements are not public. However, in his bio as a judge for the 2011 Miss USA pageant, principal investor Brian Fitterer claims “he acquired an empire valued at over half a billion dollars.” In 2013, he forked over $5.5 million in cash for condo in New York. In 2018, groups linked to IPG’s address in Irvine poured at least $100,000 into the campaign of a Oregon Legislature candidate seeking to unseat a Democrat supporting rent control. IPG owns several manufactured home parks in the Salem-Keizer area and dozens throughout the Pacific Northwest and California.
Monte also sought to sow doubt in the Keizertimes reports to members of the Manufactured Housing Landlord/Tenant Coalition.
A letter to members Oct 1, the same day repairs began, stated, “There are numerous other accusations in the article that just plain aren’t true, such as us targeting single women[for long-term leases] and withholding [copies of] leases. I can assure you that targeting single women could not be farther from who we are as a company.”
Keizertimes also asked what kind of oversight IPG maintains over property managers who sought out single women to sign long-term leases in the list of yet-unanswered questions.
Below are letters Monte has sent to various parties, a list of questions from Keizertimes and her response. The first document is a copy of the letter Monte sent to members of the Manufactured Housing Landlord/Tenant Coalition; the second document (beginning Page 2) is a collection of photos Monte sent with letter to the coalition; the third (Page 11) is a letter given to residents on Oct. 2; the third (Page 12) is an email sent to Monte with questions regarding the conditions at McNary Oaks; the final document (Page 13) is her response.
Late update: Interestingly, the top photo on Page 3 of the document, which is dated 2011, shows a crack that led to a fall and settlement after it had deteriorated even further seven years later in 2018. This is a photo of that same stretch of sidewalk that taken three weeks ago:
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