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As the Herald & Review has reported extensively, Decatur city leaders are fighting a backlog of properties on the demolition list — those deemed unsafe and in need of being torn down. Over the past two Sundays, we’ve taken a detailed look at the nearly 200 properties on the list and talked with neighbors who have lived next to them for years.

As our journalists analyzed the list, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, we noticed something curious: Nearly a quarter of the properties belonged to out-of-state owners. Of those, many were tied to the same addresses or owners’ names. One man from Washington state owns 15 properties on the list — seven of them on the same block. If you missed our stories, check out part one of the series here and part two here.

This kind of analysis shows the importance of having local journalists in our community who can comb through data and work to hold accountable people like these property owners. This Sunday’s newspaper also contained a comprehensive look at how the ongoing trade war with China is affecting our region and reporter Tony Reid’s stirring reflection on the Staley Pump House, once a Decatur icon now set to be torn down.

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Contact Allison Petty at (217) 421-6986. Follow her on Twitter: @allison0512

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Regional Editor

Regional editor for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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