Foreclosure set again for mall property

The county treasurer says more than $475,000 in back taxes is owed on a portion of the land.

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WALLA WALLA -- County officials are rolling forward with another round of foreclosure proceedings at the former Blue Mountain Mall property.

In a filing in Walla Walla County Superior Court on Tuesday, county Treasurer Gordon Heimbigner said owners of the property have failed to pay taxes on a portion of the commercial land between 2008 and 2011, and some prior years, too.

Prosecuting attorney Jim Nagle is seeking a motion of default and order for sale. A hearing on the matter has been set for March 5 at 9:30 a.m. in Superior Court.

The latest step may give some residents a sense of d?©j?° vu. Late last year, a similar process was in motion on the southern portion of the property.

Owners had failed to pay assessments from a Local Improvement District that was created more than 20 years ago for road improvements from when the mall was originally built. They'd also failed to pay property taxes. The portion of the property that was included in the LID ran from the eastern property line to Myra Road and from Poplar Street to near the south wall of the former mall. It didn't include Shopko, Sears or anything north of those stores.

A sale date had been set for the property, but a creditor came forward with payments for the delinquent taxes and other assessments. Key Bank, which identified itself as the creditor, paid the city $54,884.77 for the LID assessment. It paid the county $451,877.22 for the back taxes.

The new foreclosure process is related to the delinquent taxes on the rest of the property, Heimbigner said Wednesday. He said $477,582 is owed to the county.

None of the parties contacted by the county -- attorneys for KeyBank National Association or Colorado Structures Inc., included -- has so far responded to notifications about the proceedings. However, the response was equally silent before the foreclosure process last year. If a sale were to take place, the land would be divided.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.

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