GRAND FORKS — Piles of trash were taken out of a Grand Forks yard Monday, Aug. 19.
It's the fifth time the city has stepped in to clean the yard of Grand Forks resident Donald Masse since 2015. But some neighbors say it's not enough.
The yard of a house at 610 S. Ninth St. is overflowing with junk, and it's been that way for years, despite protests from neighbors and cleaning efforts by the city.
The latest concern about the yard was a powerline, which was fixed about a week ago. But safety concerns have plagued Masse for years. Among them are worries that his property has vermin.
"The only vermin on this property comes from neighbors' property. Because I don't raise any mice or rats," Masse said.
The city has hired contractors to minimize the mess — it'll cost about $3,000 dollars and be special assessed to Masse. Crews managed to fill up a dumpster in a little over an hour on Monday morning. Masse has paid around $8,000 in fines since 2015 for the annual cleanup bill.
A neighbor and friend of Masse’s told WDAY that there’s a side of him people don’t know, and that he’s an U.S. Army veteran with a heart of gold. It’s common for Masse to take the things people threw away and give them to neighbors, the neighbor said.
His friend told WDAY that parting with his things isn't painful for him; it's more like an invasion of privacy. He's been living in a tent – because his house is too full of stuff.
Now that his yard is clear, his neighbors are hoping someone will find a solution to help him.