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Magalia couple conflicted about rebuilding as squatters surround abandoned properties

One Magalia couple working to rebuild shares their frustration with being surrounded by squatters, setting up camp at abandoned properties.

Posted: Sep 30, 2020 5:45 PM

MAGALIA, Calif. - Magalia residents are frustrated about people camping out on their properties.

“We’re surrounded by squatters," said Susan Copeland. "People that are not the property owners, they are spreading out onto neighboring properties. I feel really bad for the people who have been displaced, but the problem that we are having is that they are disrespecting our neighborhoods.”

Susan and her husband Michael have been trying to rebuild their home in Magalia after already losing it once in the Camp Fire but, they're feeling conflicted about rebuilding due to transients, camping in their neighborhood.

“It’s discouraging when we are taking every penny we own to try and rebuild our home and then have this kind of environment around us," shared Copeland. "We’ve thought many times about if we want to rebuild up here because of that.”

Her husband is concerned about the safety of their possessions.

“My biggest frustrations right now are I can’t leave my property and feel safe of having anything when I come back and it just gets worse on a daily basis and it is very hard to live around," said Michael Copeland. 

Code Enforcement manager, Chris Jellison, said that there is not a lot the county can do about this right now.

“The problem is that the concerns that we address that the problems keep recurring as far as the parcel and the people that are there, but because of chapter 53, they can be on their parcel dry camping until the end of December,” said Jellison. 

Jellison said the Butte County Board of Supervisors passed that ordinance after the 2018 Camp Fire which allows for people to dry camp on people's parcels. 

The Butte County Board of Supervisors voted to extend this ordinance, chapter 53, to be in effect until the end of December 2021. 

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