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La Pine residents frustrated by closed landscape company; owner vows work will get done

'They didn’t do anything, they took our money and never showed up.'

(Update: Adding video, comments from La Pine homeowner, Elite Landscaping co-owner)

LA PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- An incomplete project, ignored calls and lack of a refund from a landscaping company is frustrating one La Pine homeowner.

Dava Malcolm said Friday she paid Elite Landscaping $1,750 in August to build a fence on her front lawn.

She said the company gave her a 8-10 week timeline for the project. 

But she said after countless unreturned calls and emails, she discovered online that the company closed.

“I would probably just want to get my money back and go somewhere else,” Malcolm said.

Malcolm said the reason they wanted the fence in the first place was to fence off their front yard for their three dogs. 

Their dog Lily, a 9-month-old white pit, is deaf. Aiden, a 16-year-old brown pit, is blind and half-deaf. 

At the moment, no progress has been made, after an initial estimate was given.

“They didn’t do anything -- they took our money and never showed up,” Malcolm said. “They didn’t do one thing here.”

Jordan Smith is the former co-owner of Elite Landscaping. had a message for the customers, in talking to NewsChannel 21.

“Your projects are going to get taken care of,” Smith said. “It might not be me that is taking care of them, but you’re going to get taken care of.”

Smith said with the issues of Covid, weather and employee/labor shortages, giving accurate project timelines was difficult.

“When you’re dealing with unknown variables, it's very difficult to say, 'Well, I’m going to be there in two months, or 2 1/2 months,” Smith said. 

He said they are in the middle of transferring clients to a new contractor, and haven’t had time to communicate with everyone.

“That contractor has absolutely agreed and taken on the liability for these projects,” Smith said.

Malcolm said she can understand the labor struggle, but thinks the communication needs to be better.

“I’ve called the new owner three or four times and left messages and have not heard anything at all,” Malcolm said. “If somebody else takes the contracts, you should contact the people. We shouldn’t all be left in the dark on this.”

Michael Hintz, an investigator for the Oregon Landscaping Contractors Board, said he has several cases open on Elite Landscaping, and the company has yet to provide documentation of the transition.

But Smith said, “We’re not skipping town with a bunch of people's money. (Those are) the words on Facebook, ‘we're pocketing all that money and going away’,” Smith said. “I wish I had all that money, brother -- then we’d be in a lot better scenario right now. I’d love to refund these people all this money, but what we have to do is take care of the project.”

NewsChannel 21 asked if Smith can guarantee that anyone who put a deposit on a project with Elite Landscaping will have the project completed.

"Yes, as long as they allow us to enter their property to allow us to start and fulfill the project, they will be taken care of. And that is a guarantee that I will make, 'cause that’s something I will do on my own, if I have to,” Smith said.

Smith also acknowledged he sold his home in La Pine and is moving to Texas.

He said he’s not sure if he will continue landscaping or get a different job while there. 

However, for Malcolm, it just seems like lost money. 

“$1,750 is a lot of money. It might not be for some people, but it is to us. We saved up for a long time to put that down, and just to have nothing,” Malcolm said. “No fence, no money.”

A Sunriver resident reached out to NewsChannel 21 and said he paid more than $4,000 on a deposit for a fence project this past May.

He is still waiting on the project to be finished as well.

NewsChannel 21 reached out to the new contractor but has not received any return calls yet.

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Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.


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