DeVaul's own home, ranch cookhouse condemned


STAY OUT :  County code enforcers condemned most of the buildings on Dan DeVaul’s 72-acre ranch on Aug. 5. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • STAY OUT : County code enforcers condemned most of the buildings on Dan DeVaul’s 72-acre ranch on Aug. 5.

County code enforcers tightened the screws still tighter on Dan DeVaul on Aug. 5, arriving at his ranch outside SLO to post signs condemning the building that houses his office and personal apartment along with other buildings, including the barn where meals are served to some 40 current residents.

“Condemned. This structure is unsafe … It is unlawful for any person to enter or use this property,” read the signs, which also warn that anyone removing them will be prosecuted.

DeVaul’s response?

He’s ignoring the signs.

He said the woman who had been cooking meals promptly left her post, fearful that she’d be subject to prosecution if she used the building. But someone else promptly stepped in.

“We’re serving a meal in the barn right now,” he said in a phone interview at lunchtime at the 72-acre ranch on Los Osos Valley Road. He also isn’t staying out of his apartment. “They didn’t put a lock on the door,” he allowed. “I plan to sleep there tonight.”

DeVaul, who is continuing to house and feed homeless, addicted, and mentally ill people at his ranch despite an apparent pledge the week before to give up, said he’s ready for the entire matter to come to a head, regardless of the consequences.

“Maybe they’ll take the ranch, maybe I’ll be incarcerated for the next ten years,” he said of various criminal and code matters he’s facing.

Whatever happens, he said, he’s not giving up housing or feeding people, and he called on county voters to pressure elected officials to arrive at a resolution.

He said he was resigned to the latest action, quoting from the serenity prayer repeated at substance-abuse sessions: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

“I’ve done about everything I can do.”

Top code enforcement officer Art Trinidade did not immediately return a call for comment.


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