In 2004, I met Jean Raubolt. In 1982, she bought a new house on Silent Rain Drive in a neighborhood sandwiched between Mountain Shadows and what is now Peregrine on the city’s northwest edge.
She wanted to form a neighborhood association to police the area and enforce covenants and city codes for appearance, noise and overall quality of life.
Raubolt was unable to rally neighbors to join her. So she became a one-woman army dedicated to reporting and filing complaints for every code violation she could find.
She was known to walk the neighborhood, pen and pad in hand, writing down violations she then reported to Colorado Springs Police, or the Code Enforcement agency, or the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.
Neighbors told me they hid from Raubolt, avoiding using their front yards or porches to avoid her wrath. Some told me they moved to escape her harassment.
Soon, she was the subject of complaints about her dog, her daughter’s drumming, right in a 2008 photo, and music at a barbecue she hosted.
Weyer ended up in court three times over Raubolt’s complaints. Two were dismissed but the third stuck and she was fined $70. Weyer considered moving until the complaints suddenly stopped.
Raubolt died last August. Weyer said it’s sad, but the neighborhood is all “peace and tranquility” ever since.
They had grown hopeful, recently, that the house was finally going to be repaired and occupied. The work started after a column I wrote in April. The owner, Ruth “Fire” Hendricks had come to me, begging me to write about how the city had wrongly condemned the place. Alternately angry and tearful, she told me how her hateful neighbors wouldn’t help.
Of course, the city and neighbors told a much different story. City Code Enforcement Administrator Ken Lewis said Hendricks as refusing to cooperate with his officers. He said they had tried for years to help her.
Hendricks was enraged by my column. But in a short time a contractor began work on the house and the roof was replaced. A large trash container was brought to the house and some of the moldy junk inside was pitched until Hendricks intervened.
Then everything stopped. Hendricks died May 15, leaving the house in limbo. (One of her daughters, Julia Groves, angrily claimed the stress from my column killed her.)
Neighbors are glad its collapsing roof has been repaired and broken windows fixed. But they fear it could sit even longer as probate court sorts out Hendricks’ estate. Here’s a link to my earlier blog on the house.
Lewis said the city will stay on the case and, if necessary, will make any urgent repairs and mow weeds, bill the estate and even lien the property if necessary.