For nearly two years, a feud between neighbors John Kendall and Erich and Abigail Mounce simmered in the Green Meadows neighborhood in unincorporated Clark County.
It came to a violent end on Halloween, when Kendall shot Abigail Mounce in the face and later killed himself after leading police officers on a manhunt.
Several weeks after the shooting, on a recent Saturday evening, Kendall’s home, in the Meadowcharm subdivision, sat empty.
One of the major points of contention between the neighbors was Kendall’s insistence on housing as many as five tenants and a home business, violating subdivision codes.
Matt Parker, 32, who moved to the subdivision in May and lived directly next to Kendall, said the area is “even more quiet now.”
Parker said he’s had a hard time reconciling the impression he had of 59-year-old Kendall, the man he considered to be his friendly neighbor, and the person who decided to resolve a dispute by shooting a woman in the face.
“He was never a shouting-at-us ‘Get off my lawn!’ (type),” Parker said.
Instead, Kendall was the neighbor who walked around and chatted with people.
“The only person who ever introduced himself or talked to us is dead,” Parker said.
A neighbor who lives behind Parker has two dogs that tend to bark incessantly. He’s thought about going over to speak to his neighbor but has been reticent.
“I feel like if I knocked on the door. … I don’t know, I don’t want to stir the pot,” he said.
The Mounces’ home, on the other side of Kendall’s house, was dark.
Christmas lights lined the roof and a sign to newspaper and television reporters asks for privacy, adding the family has “no comment” for the press at this time.
Abigail Mounce gave an interview shortly after the shooting while she was still in the hospital. She had facial reconstructive surgery after and is waiting to find out whether she will lose her right eye.
Kia Luu, 62, who lives down the street from the Kendall and Mounces’ homes, agreed with Parker that the neighborhood is quiet and people tend to keep to themselves.
Several residents rent, Luu said. Some of them moved in after the shooting with no idea of what unfolded on Halloween this year.
“They don’t want to talk or look at you,” Luu said of some of his new neighbors, adding people keep their heads down and go about their business.
Andy Bazukin, 40, another neighbor, had lived in the subdivision less than a month at the time of the shooting.
Like some of the other neighbors, he had been approached by the shooter, who welcomed him to the neighborhood.
“He walked around visiting neighbors,” Bazukin said.
Bazukin, who has two children, said he relied on his faith to explain the shooting to his family.
Bazukin believes God has a reason for everything, helping him put the shooting in context.
“This was not anything you could expect,” Bazukin said of the incident. “It’s bad.”
But he said for him, “life has returned to normal.”
The Mounces and Kendall were en route to court to face each other when the shooting took place.
The tension between the neighbors had increased leading up to the neighbors’ court date, according to neighbors.
One neighbor, who declined to be identified, said she wasn’t surprised the way events unfolded because “every month, cops, cops, cops,” she told The Columbian the day of the shooting.
Officials from Community Mediation Services, a nonprofit agency in downtown Vancouver, said they often help neighbors resolve a dispute before it heads to court — or something more extreme, such as the case in the Green Meadows neighborhood.
When it comes to neighborhood disputes, Nancy Pionk, executive director of the nonprofit, said her office has seen a variety of arguments ranging over boundary lines to noise complaints to cultural differences that cause tension.
“We look for mutual interests and we find that people want the same things a lot of times, even if they have differences,” she said.
And, she said, the resolution rate is extremely high.
“Most people want a quality of life that doesn’t have this kind of tension,” she said.
And even if the neighbors don’t agree on past facts or boundary lines, they often can still strike a deal that works for them moving forward and avoiding costly litigation.
The fees for mediation services are based on a sliding scale, but the neighborhood rate is only $10 per party.
“The idea is we want people to pay something, it’s important they are contributing to the resolution in that way,” Pionk said.
Pionk said neighbors often feel the only way to resolve an issue is head to court.
Out of the 28 cases that went to mediation or negotiation in 2013, 24 were considered resolved. Pionk said a lot of times people simply call and receive advice and are able to resolve the conflict before mediation.
“If we can get people to the table with mediators, more often than not they are coming up with agreements,” she said. “I would love people to know this is an effective resource.”