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Town Divided Over One Man's Clutter - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Town Divided Over One Man's Clutter

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A Marion, North Dakota man says he and his business are being run out of town. Larry Albers owns a salvage yard and admits he has got a mess on his hands and adds that he's not breaking any law, but the city says otherwise. The city notified Albers that he has 10 days to clean up his lot or they are going to take control and do it for him.   

The small town of Marion is divided over the Albers' clutter. He has a salvage license and fixes vehicles.  Many in town call the cars and parts "junk", but he calls it his treasure and livelihood.

"I'm just trying to earn a living. Now they say they're gonna take my property because they consider it junk and a nuisance. But I can take a $200 car part out and make a living on that," says Albers.

Albers says this dispute started ten years ago. He says he has been following the law, since he started keeping his stuff behind a six-foot tin fence.

Marion's mayor Gene Rodes told Valley News Live Albers is violating a city ordinance regarding safety. Rodes adds, just because it's behind a fence, doesn't make it any less of a nuisance, and the stuff must go.

"Were just going from what the patrons on the town are saying. They would like to have the town cleaned up. Me, myself, I got things I'll be cleaning up, but the biggest problems we had were the vehicles we had in the road for snow removal and safety," says Marion City Council President Brad Rodine.  

The city council and mayor say they are not trying to single Larry out, but have been advised by their attorney to take care of one lot at a time.

"There are gonna be others that have to do the same thing. We're not just pointing fingers at one person," says Rodine.  

Rodine says the town is not going to take all of Albers' vehicles, just the inoperable ones. Albers says he is trying  to do what he can, and if it's behind a fence, it should not be a problem.

"With a closed fence, the only way to get in is with a six foot ladder or cutting the lock," says Albers.

Marion's mayor adds that the town does not have the money to fight this in court. He says the city has already spent about $10,000 in citizen donations on legal fees. Citizens who we talked to say they are mainly concerned because Albers property is devaluing their home.
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