The County of Mendocino has announced the imminent closure of the Creekside Cabins, an RV park north of Willits that has become the center of public attention after a sinkhole cut off the road in and out of the property over two weeks ago.
A press release provided by the County today described Code Enforcement finding multiple health risks associated with feces and sewage on Friday, January 20, 2023. These findings have triggered Mendocino County Public Health to deem the property a ‘public health menace’ and order its immediate closure.
The County of Mendocino will be installing a temporary bridge providing tenants with a window to exit the property from Wednesday, January 25 at 8:00 a.m. until Thursday, January 26 at 5:00 p.m.
Mendocino County Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren released a “Declaration of Local Health Emergency” associated with the property outlining the conditions that warranted the immediate closure of the property.
Coren states that yesterday’s site inspection found sewage from multiple RVs pooling on the ground. Inspectors also found RVs draining their sewage directly into or in the direction of the creek that runs along the property.
The washed-out roadway has left critical services such as “emergency response, septic processing, garbage collection, propane delivery, medical supply delivery, and food delivery” unable to access the fifty-plus residents of the park.
Teresa Thurman, the owner of the Creekside Cabins, has denied any responsibility to repair the culvert and roadway that has left her tenants unable to enter or exit the property. A number of lawsuits dating back over a decade revolve around disputes over her practices as a landlord.
We have continued to reach out to Thurman for opportunities to comment on the situation, but she stopped responding after we requested her comments be provided to us via text or email. When this reporter made a visit to the Creekside property land Sunday, January 16, 2023, Thurman immediately approached and escorted us off the property.
Janet Hagins, a long-time resident of Creekside told us she thinks these reported health concerns are a “scare tactic” from the county. The property’s water quality has always been tested monthly, she told us, and the most recent tests indicated the water “was fine”.
Hagins lives with her husband who suffers from health problems. She said that as the window to exit the property approaches, “There are some [residents] that plan on leaving but the rest of us have no place and no funds.” When the County of Mendocino came to offer services and aid to residents in their search for housing, Hagins described it as “just numbers to call and lists to get on.”
The full text of the County’s most recent press release describing the health hazards and Dr. Coren’s declaration can be found below:
On Friday, January 20th, representatives of Mendocino County Code Enforcement and Environmental Health conducted an inspection of the conditions at Creekside Cabins near Willits. The County obtained a warrant for the inspection after being refused entry by the property owner and posted the warrant for the 24-hour period required by state law. Friday afternoon and evening, Mendocino County Public Health Officer Andrew Coren reviewed the results of the inspection for risk to human health and safety. Mendocino County Public Health has determined that the conditions at Creekside Cabins create an immediate menace to public health due to the presence of exposed sewage and other hazards. The area encompassing the entirety of Creekside Cabins, has been ordered closed pursuant to Penal Code section 409.5(a). The temporary bridge to exit the property will be available to residents as soon as Wednesday, January 25 at 8:00 AM. Residents may remain until Thursday, January 26 at 5:00 PM only for the purposes of evacuating or preparing to evacuate themselves and their possessions or otherwise remediating the hazards. Nonresidents may enter for the same purposes with prior permission from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. Persons seeking permission to enter should call 707-510-5324. Any person entering or remaining at this location does so at their own risk. Persons doing so should be advised that the conditions at this location create a risk of exposure to unsafe levels of waterborne bacteria which can cause infections of the gastrointestinal tract, skin rashes, and other infectious diseases. Symptoms of gastrointestinal disease may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stools or emesis, abdominal pain, fever, dehydration, weakness and mental status changes. Skin contact with these bacteria, especially open wounds, may cause inflammation and infection showing redness, swelling, pustules, pain and exudates. These problems could progress, if untreated, to internal disease such as sepsis (blood-born infection) and ultimately death. Anyone exposed who experiences gastrointestinal symptoms should drink plenty of water and those experiencing skin infections should wash the areas frequently and thoroughly with soap and water and contact their personal physician. In case of emergency, contact 911 for immediate medical care. For further information, please see the attached Public Health Order.
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