But in the past month, a family has in fact had its house burn mostly to the ground. And so far as we can tell, no one has been properly roused.
On Sept. 29, the Osegueras’ home on Falcon Court burned down. The culprits appear to be a group of careless teenagers who set a fire nearby. But the culpability doesn’t end with them.
Union Pacific Railroad has failed to keep up its property between Sixth and Third streets, known to us as the Bow Tie.
The evidence is fairly clear. On April 20 of this year, the city of Tracy sent three citations charging U.P. $100 for each day the Bow Tie area wasn’t cleared of refuse and weeds. By our tally, that puts the bill for just one of the citations at $18,300 and climbing.
Yet the refuse remains.
Of course, the city hasn’t followed up, either. In an interview with a Press reporter last week, the head of the code enforcement department said the city wouldn’t consider taking the railroad to small claims court until the citations added up to $1,000.
But by our math, that day has come and gone several times over. And still, no hard-line action by the city.
In the meantime, the weeds continue to grow and create a perfect hazard, a place where vagrants and teens tromp and fire danger abounds. But you don’t need to tell the Osegueras. They already know.
It’s time for Union Pacific to at least pretend it cares about the Tracy community by cleaning its property.
We’re not talking about the extensive reclamation
needed to make the land suitable for development. We’re talking about a crew, a dump truck and disc equipment to remove the rubbish and mow the weeds.
(Though that deep-cleaning eventually needs to happen, too, as the Bow Tie is an incredible untapped resource and will remain untapped until it’s cleansed.)
If U.P. doesn’t act, it’s time for the city to pursue a civil claim. Maybe the threat of legal action will put some fire in that locomotive’s belly.