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Aug 6, 21

Medford, OR: Two Arrested for Resisting Police Eviction of Unhoused Community

Report on eviction defense of unhoused community in Medford, Oregon. Follow Siskiyou Street News here.

by Siskiyou Street News

On Tuesday, August 3, two people were arrested for resisting a forced eviction of unhoused community members in Medford, Oregon. TBone Greiner was taken to jail for refusing to vacate his home on the Bear Park Greenway, a public space where much of the houseless community in Medford live. In an attempt to stop the destruction of TBone’s home, Nicholas Stanley, a housed ally, locked himself to a piece of heavy machinery that is used by the city to destroy property and shelters of those living on the Greenway.

This resistance was part of an ongoing effort by housed and unhoused community members to stop the inhumane evictions—or “sweeps”—routinely carried out by the Medford Police Department. These evictions are a result of the city’s recently enacted Prohibited Camping Ordinance, which makes it illegal to sleep in a tent on public property. TBone has been specifically targeted and threatened by police since he began fighting and speaking out against the ordinance.

“[People on the Greenway] have the right to stand up for what’s right. I really hope more people open their eyes and see—if I can [stand up], they can do it too,” said Tbone, whose home—an impressive structure he built on the Greenway over the last year—has served as a community hub where other unhoused people go for support. “Medford is still not listening to us. They ask us all these questions and we give them answers, but I still don’t have keys to a home and they keep bullying and harassing us.”

Housed and unhoused residents in Medford have been organizing to support the continually harassed and neglected unhoused community for a long time. A roving mutual aid project called Judi’s Midnight Diner offers residents a break from the weather with heat lamps, shelter, and food in response to the city’s crackdown on unhoused people and its unwillingness to follow its own laws that require it to offer warming shelters for people during extreme weather and temperatures. People have been present at the Greenway evictions week after week, documenting the police’s actions and bearing witness to the destruction and trauma perpetually being carried out against unhoused people in the city.

On July 29, Medford Police delayed their plans to destroy TBone’s home after being met with active resistance. Banners covered the Greenway pathway, supporters lined the entrance, and one activist suspended themselves between trees above TBone’s home.

“The cops arrested my friend TBone for having a voice and trying to stand up for us. He had no warrants, was not on probation—they arrested him only for the simple fact that he sat here and didn’t want to leave and let them destroy his home. They took him to jail and now they’re destroying his house,” said Desiree, an unhoused community member who was displaced from the Greenway by Medford Police last week. “Sweeps are miserable, we lose everything. Every time you have to start over.”

TBone and Nick have now both been released from jail. Nick has been charged with a felony for his action against the sweeps. TBone was charged with prohibited camping and is now legally prohibited from returning to the specific area of the Greenway that he calls home.

You can donate to help pay the legal fees of the sweep resisters here.

An interview with TBone at his home before it was destroyed can be found here.

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