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Originally published January 5, 2006 at 12:00 AM | Page modified January 5, 2006 at 9:49 AM

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Nicole Brodeur

Sad reminder of Kurt Cobain's legacy

There's not much Thurston County Sgt. Dan McLendon can tell people about the property at 8910 Bordeaux Road S. W. in Littlerock. It's a nice house...

Seattle Times staff columnist

There's not much Thurston County Sgt. Dan McLendon can tell people about the property at 8910 Bordeaux Road S.W. in Littlerock.

It's a nice house that could use some work, and the opening bid is $385,626.33. "I'm not a Realtor," he said when I called to inquire.

But he would admit this: There's a lot of sadness about the place.

For while the house holds Washington history (it was built in 1903 by lumber baron Thomas Bordeaux), it is also part of a rock 'n' roll legacy. The house is one of the spoils in the feud between Courtney Love and the family of her dead husband, Nirvana's Kurt Cobain.

Love bought the place in 1997 for Cobain's mother, Wendy O'Connor, and her daughter, Kimberly, Kurt's younger sister. Love struggled publicly with drug, legal and custody issues, and in 2003 she stopped making house payments. Now WMC Mortgage Co. in Los Angeles wants its money.

So at 9 a.m. Friday, almost 12 years after Cobain committed suicide, the truly interested and plainly curious will gather on the steps of the Thurston County Courthouse in Olympia for a public auction of the house his widow bought, his mother lived in and his sister can no longer keep.

One unique feature: The house is one of about a dozen of Cobain's final resting places.

On Memorial Day 1999, O'Connor organized a ceremony during which Cobain and Love's then 6-year-old daughter, Frances Bean, tossed some of his ashes into McLane Creek, which runs behind the house.

The ceremony was recounted in "Heavier Than Heaven," a biography of Cobain written by Charles Cross.

"This is one more piece of this man's sad family legacy," Cross said.

And it is something Cobain shares with Jimi Hendrix. He, too, had a home that stood not just for his legacy but for all the tangles, legal and otherwise, that followed his death.

So I guess no matter how high stars rise — in life or in death — they can't escape from the things that keep the rest of us mortal. Probate. Real estate. The sobriety of public notices and legal filings.

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Kim Cobain was home last month when McLendon came by to post the auction notice. (She did not return phone calls.)

"She was aware that this was coming," McLendon said.

What will come on Friday? McLendon couldn't say. But it will be different from anything he's seen in his 27 years in Thurston County.

He's been fielding calls from Europe, Australia and all over the United States. He got about 100 calls last week alone, while the average property brings four or five calls.

"I believe there will be some bidding going on, which is good," McLendon said. "But I am just going to handle it like anything else. I'll go ahead and start at 9 o'clock and we'll get it done.

"But I don't know. ... It's a shame."

Nicole Brodeur's column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or nbrodeur@seattletimes.com.

Be well, Frances Bean.

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About Nicole Brodeur

My column is more a conversation with readers than a spouting of my own views. I like to think that, in writing, I lay down a bridge between readers and me. It is as much their space as mine. And it is a place to tell the stories that, otherwise, may not get into the paper.
nbrodeur@seattletimes.com | 206-464-2334

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