ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The battle to fix a problem property in an Albuquerque neighborhood is escalating. City fire and code enforcement descended on the property Tuesday afternoon. Now the city wants the resident to go to jail.
For years, people living in the Inez neighborhood near Menaul and Pennsylvania have been trying to get a neighbor to clean up his property which is riddled with high weeds, old cars, and mounds of miscellaneous items. In 2021, the city got involved and Patrick Wallentine was found guilty of violating the city’s weed and litter ordinance in October.
According to Wallentine, he picks up trash as a way to clean up the city and he tries to reuse some of the stuff he finds and give it to people in need. “I kind of somewhat feel like you should be able to do what you want with your house and for a while there Patrick, I think, felt like he was creating art,” neighbor Charlie Hart said.
Wallentine was sentenced to 90 days of unsupervised probation while he cleaned his house. “He has been making improvements. We used to have a big semi there and you couldn’t even see the house. Now you can see the house,” Hart said.
While there has been some improvement, the city is not impressed. On Monday, the city’s attorney notified the court of Wallentine’s probation violation and is requesting him to serve his 90-day sentence in county jail.
According to neighbors, Wallentine does not own the property, he just lives there. City officials are not waiting for the judge as fire and city code enforcement went into the home to inspect what is being done. They are evaluating the mess for the hearing set for January of next year on whether Wallentine should go to jail.
The city’s code enforcement said this is not an ordinary case and these measures are only used in extreme circumstances. AFR’s ADAPT program assists the city to identify these kinds of properties throughout the city and correct the violations.