May 7, 2009 in City

Judge boots couple’s unwelcome tenant

By The Spokesman-Review

An elderly Spokane Valley couple’s battle to have a woman evicted from their garage is apparently over.

An eviction order was signed by a judge last week and sheriff’s deputies posted a notice on the door of the garage Wednesday, ordering Susan Pierce off the premises at the North McCabe Road home. Pierce and several others had been living intermittently in the garage despite the efforts of Don and Peggy Bain, both 81, to have her removed.

“Everything’s fine now,” Don Bain said. Pierce is gone, and “she can’t step foot on the property anymore. There’s a big old red tag on the door warning her.”

The Bains had been trying for about a month to have Pierce and the others thrown out, but the Spokane Valley Police Department refused to remove her because she had established residence by receiving mail at the garage, which has been modified as a living quarters. Pierce initially lived there with Peggy Bain’s son, Skippy Ray Davis, who went to prison April 1 in an unrelated case.

Police said their policy is to require a formal eviction notice, rather than having officers make decisions on the spot to throw people out. The Bains began eviction proceedings, but in the meantime police twice allowed Pierce and others back into the garage when the Bains tried to lock them out. There was never a lease or other formal rental arrangement between the Bains and the people in their garage.

The department drew criticism for its decision. And Don Bain said he heard from people all around the country who were outraged after reading about the case.

“I had a hundred calls,” he said. “It just went crazy.”

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