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Phoenix neighborhood, 85008, hot spot for evictions

Van Buren street
Posted at 5:20 AM, Dec 03, 2021

PHOENIX — It's one man's mission to turn around part of the Valley.

For constables, it's one of the busiest neighborhoods of Phoenix when it comes to evictions - the 85008 zip code near Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. But there is an Arizona man who's trying to change that - one property at a time.

It's a neighborhood Constable Darlene Martinez has gotten to know all too well in her four years serving Maricopa County - a neighborhood off Van Buren Street between 24th and 32nd streets - which keeps constables busy serving eviction notices.

Inside, the tenant is nowhere to be found, but his belongings are everywhere. By law, landlords must hold on to them for 14 days, but that's not all the tenant left behind.

"The door was intentionally damaged," explained property owner Shawn Petree. "The last time I was in here, it was not like that."

Most people would run from a neighborhood like this, but not Shawn. "It kind of comes with the business. I've grown numb to it over the years," he said.

Shawn owns more than a dozen properties in this area, hoping to turn around Van Buren Street.

"We all go through our bumps and bruises. We'll clean it out and fix it up and hope that we find a decent tenant to move in," he added.

Nick: What keeps you renting here if these are the headaches you have to deal with?

Shawn: The hopes of changing Van Buren. I'm a Valley native and I'm trying to clean up Van Buren with a couple partners.

Nick: You want to be here so you can revitalize it. What makes you want to do that?

Shawn: Just being a Phoenician. Several years ago, I met up with one of my partners and we had the same vision to clean up Van Buren. So we've targeted from 24th to 32nd.

Shawn has owned these properties for about a decade. He's hoping to buy even more properties here to turn this area around. One day, he'd like to see it resemble the area of Camelback and Central, with residential, retail, and walkable neighborhoods that thrive.