City again targeting Tilden house

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By David Giuliani

The house is an unquestionable eyesore: The mailbox is full of pens and pencils. The doorway is blocked by a piece of furniture and other junk. A heap of old fabrics and assorted items covers a portion of the yard.

The house at 921 Tilden St. has been a problem property before, and the city is trying to deal with the issue yet again. The owner, Gordy Maxine Thatcher-Godfrey, has a penchant for collecting and storing whatever she finds around town both inside and outside her house.

In March, a neighbor reported that he hadn’t seen Thatcher-Godfrey for at least 10 days and worried that she may have died inside the house. A police officer visited and opened an unlocked door. She wasn’t there.

As he entered, the officer stopped for a moment as he caught his breath because of a strong odor. The officer reported seeing dead rodents and floors covered in two to three feet of trash.

Around the same time, a Fire Department inspection found that the large amount of combustible materials created a fire hazard.

Since then, the city has been working through Municipal Court to get the property cleaned up. This is the third time the city has gone through this process with Thatcher-Godfrey’s property, officials said.

The last time was in September 2007, when the City Council ordered the cleanup of her property within 10 days. Shortly after, a number of residents, members of her church, the Peace and Justice Center, including City Councilman Cruz Roybal, got together to help her meet the council’s order, clearing the property of junk.

“The situation is a tragicomedy. While they were cleaning up the place, she was bringing stuff through the back door,” said the woman’s next-door neighbor, Mark Feedman.

At a 2007 council meeting, a representative of the state Adult Protective Services Division reported that Thatcher-Godfrey had a hoarding disorder. She said her agency would try to help the woman.

Feedman spoke before the council at a meeting earlier this month and told the city that it needed to do something about the fire danger created by Thatcher-Godfrey.

“The council should take note of this extremely dangerous situation,” he said.

Officials assured him they had. They reported that the city’s code enforcement officers had taken the matter to Municipal Court.

“It’s certainly on our radar screen,” City Attorney Carlos Quiñones said. “(Feedman) is understandably concerned.”