Friday, July 3, 2009

A moral dilemna

Okay, so there is this house in our neighborhood that has been an eyesore for years. Recently, someone bought it to flip it, but then the economy tanked and all renovation work halted faster than you can say "Stimulus Package". The house is empty. M.T. Abandoned. In foreclosure.

Here's my quandary: I want the plants. Several months ago, someone made a half-hearted attempt to landscape, but it's just pathetic really. However, some of the plants were amazing this spring and now look at them!
Delphinuium...sad.

Lupine...very sad.

Japanese maple...so very sad.

And look! Another maple being crushed by a cheap Walmart trellis that toppled over...Extra sad.

My husband says I can't take them because it would be like stealing. I say it's more like adopting. In my care, they will be appreciated and nurtured. Left to their own devices, they will surely fade away. I asked my kids about it:

Me: "Hey guys, see those plants at that ABANDONED house? Do you think it would be wrong to take some of them?"
Kids (in unison): "Yes, Mom, that would be wrong. They don't belong to us."

So I thought: At least I raised my children right. It doesn't mean I won't be taking the plants; it just means I have instilled in them a sense of right and wrong.
What do you think? Please advise, dear readers!

28 comments:

Joan@anythinggoeshere said...

As tempting as it is, I say no. Can you get permission from anyone?

Joan@anythinggoeshere said...

Oh, and if you do..would you try hard to make the national news so I can read about you?

For weeks our papers covered a local story about community gardeners gardening on a vacant lot (where they had verbal permission) until the absentee owner actually saw what they did.... They finally have an agreement and the gardening can go on for this year. Poor plants caught in a legal battle.

Sammy Girl said...

Arrrg! This IS a terrible question. Enough to make me stand on a soapbox and vent! Plant Rescue Society?? Too many beauties are being let die (or killed) for no good reason.
Nuff said ...

laurie magpie ethel said...

It is wrong...but if one were to sneak over one night with a flashlight and shovel...then it could be right....but ONLY if you didn't get caught. I am not a good influence...listen to your kids.

Anonymous said...

I suggest you see if you can track down the technical owner and ask permission.

If you can't track him/her down then by all means, sneak over in the dead of night and err, "liberate" the poor hostages!

Let me put it this way: if you knew there were dogs or cats shut up in that house not being taken care of, would you act? Of course! Well, plants are living things too.

quinn said...

Yes, you have raised your kids right...now you have to live up to it :)

Can't you contact the owners?

Or buy the house?

(okay, that would be extreme)

~~Carol~~ said...

We had this same situation with the house next door. It was very tempting, but I didn't do it because: 1) It would be stealing, and lead to bad karma. 2) The neighbors would always call the police when someone was on the property, that didn't belong there. That being said, I would do it if I were you, IF you could do it in a way where no one would see you. Odds are, the next people won't give a rat's patootie about flowers, and will mow over them!

Will @ rita deco said...

You can find the owner of this property by looking online at www.portlandmaps.com
or lookup "portland online".
These are City of Portland info. sites and you can search the property for accessments, violations, ownership, last sale , price etc etc.
It's a fabulous way to snoop on other people's property/business.
Maybe you can find out who owns it and ask if you can take these sickly plants. I know this house. It's too bad it sits so exposed on the street. If it was more discreet, I'd say we go get'em at 3am in the morning.

trash talk said...

I say be a good packrat...slip a little money under the door. They could probably use it more than the plants. Do you know anyone on the police force you could ask? Just so you don't show up on the 10:00 news as part of a high speed chase!
Debbie

Jeanie said...

I say take them. They are being murdered and left for dead. I have no basis for this opinion other than it's a crying shame to just let them die...especially the maples.

misselaineous said...

I gotta go along with Joan...very tempting, but still someone else's property. I would make a point to try to contact an owner and see if they would mind you rescuing the poor dying plants. My Dad & I used to wander old houses looking for "treasure", but he had a friend who worked at the local bank who supplied him with an owners name & number...thus we never got arrested for our rescue efforts! *elaine*

Hybrid Hopes said...

I say yes. Unless the people who are getting foreclosed on want them. Not likely if they're really flippers - but if they bought it to live there, there's a possibility.

The banks that make interest only loans, that kinda fed on people - they don't really care about people, let alone plants.

If you don't feel right digging 'em up and giving 'em a home, you could maybe carry over some graywater and water the poor things.

GeorgiaPeachez said...

Go get 'um!!! xo, suzy

Shara said...

I am in the same dilemna right now. But, my moral dilemna is about a set of two white metal motel chairs left in the backyard of the house next door. The people are gone and there is a FOR SALE sign, but other that that no one is around. I neeeed those chairs. For the record, there is a plethera of other JUNK i the backyard too. So, it's not like they left the chairs as an incentie or something.....

dwaneboy said...

i say do it, just make sure you do it either a. at night or b. when virtually nobody's around to see you digging them up.


i've done stuff like it before and i think there's no harm in it. as long as you don't disrespect the property i don't see why anyone would complain about you doing so.

AngelMc said...

hmmm, a dilemma indeed. stealing vs saving a plant. can you call the bank and get permission? stealing is bad, but gee, i hate to see that Japanese maple bite the dust (and the others too of course)

Poolatte said...

Just go in during the day and if anyone asks, you are part of the "plant rescue society" You could even craft an official looking badge. Laminator anyone?

EverydayMe said...

Hate so say it... but both your kid and hubby are right... even though they would be better off with you... they are NOT yours to take... although have you thought of talking to the owner and seeing if he is willing to let you take them for a 'recoup' job and take them back when they are felling much better!!! Just a thought!!! {{HUGS}} Michelle

Linda Crispell said...

Won't they shrivel up and die from neglect? Shovel + Pitch black night= Rescued plants!
I just saw the John Dillinger movie, perhaps I'm thinking like a gangster.

Kate Spike and Her KatS said...

Who in the world would be petty enough to make a stink about someone saving plants from certain death? I say, go get 'em (maybe cover your a** by making a call to whoever is foreclosing on the property as I'm sure they could care less). Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain, but I don't think you should take the plants. Firstly, you don't want to get busted for trespassing and stealing (even if your intentions are honourable). Secondly, the plants would not likely survive being transplanted in the dead of summer. It sounds like they're already hurting enough. The best thing you could do would be to water the plants and trees, if possible.
Love your blog! I've linked it to mine (Toronto Yard Sale Snoop). Good luck. Erin

Barntiques said...

Take them! Put them and yourself out of dangerment. It can only be the best for both of you. Go for it and be sure to take photos!

LV said...

Try first to find the owner of the house. If you have no luck, ask your local police force if there is a problem taking them. Such a shame to let such lovely plants die.

Vintage Sue said...

In our neighborhood, we're in the same moral dilemma. Then again, this house is being razed and a McMansion is going up. Since they're demolishing, we're sorely tempted....

grunge-queen said...

Lordie, quelle moral question! I would never presume to tell you what to do; my feelings on the matter are equally mixed since I feel uncomfortable making distinctions between RIGHT and WRONG on the one hand, but on the other have real problems with espousing a relative morality that justifies certain actions 'cos they could be worse. You must do what you can live with! (But do let us know).

P.S. There is a "guerrilla gardening" movement, not sure if you've heard, where people beautify public spaces in the dead of night --- maybe the philosophy is that they 'own' the space since it's public? Not sure ...

Carole said...

I say 'no' too I'm afraid. If the house was on the verge of being torn down, that would be one thing, but since it's simply in foreclosure, then no.

And since it is in foreclosure it's owned by the bank, so contacting the 'owners' probably wouldn't do any good. :-/

I do know how you feel about the plants though.

When we moved out of our house in Canby we left behind a lilac that grew from a cutting that dh's grandmother had given us (from an heirloom variety). Months later when we drove by we saw that the new owners had torn it out (along with many other things).

Next time, I dig up everything I want beforehand, or tag it all before the prospective buyers see it. Once burned...never again.

Susie Q said...

Vintage Sue - if they are razing the house, talk to the foreman of the job and he'll probably let you take them. Of course, taking over a BIG batch of drinks, lemonade, ICE WATER, coffee, whatever, might help!

Anonymous said...

i say take them.