Mastodon Twitter Instagram Youtube
Dec 9, 20

As COVID Deaths Explode and End of Eviction Moratorium Looms, Portland Community Beats Back Eviction, Erects Barricades

On Tuesday morning, Portland community members successfully repealed heavily armed and militarized Multnomah County Sheriffs backed by Portland police officers, who were attempting to evict the Afro-Indigenous Kinney family, who has lived in the “Red House on Mississippi” in the North Portland neighborhood for 65 years.

The eviction began in the early morning, after officers officers “violently dismantled the 75+ day “Red House” [support] encampment,” and then “entered the home itself, destroying its interior, and violently arrested two residents – injuring at least one.” Supporters and neighbors responded by pushing police off the property, into their cars, and out of the area. Police cars had their windows busted out, were covered in paint, and their tires were slashed, while riot police were confronted, driven back with rocks, sprayed with a fire extinguisher, and according to one report, were “chased…into a full retreat reminiscent of recent street warfare seen in Paris.” Police responded by firing tear-gas at the crowd. Tuesday’s attempted eviction is only the latest in a series of attempts to remove the family from the home in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood.

According to a press release:

The Afro-Indigenous Kinney family, longtime owners of the “Red House,” maintain cultural and generational ties to the home in question. The tactics we are facing, of sneaky and illegal foreclosure tactics, predatory banking and loans, elected judges who take campaign contributions from the real estate industry, coupled with violence from law enforcement and no real Due Process, have been used across this historically Black neighborhood to displace Black and poor people, says homeowner and Indigenous elder Julie Metcalf. If Black and indigenous lives matter in Portland, this must stop.

Since September of 2020, an eviction resistance encampment has grown outside of the home, ready to mobilize if law enforcement attempted to evict the family. From the Red House Mississippi website:

The Portland community has united to save the Red House on Mississippi, rallying support around the family to reclaim the house and hold the land in a 24/7 eviction blockade. Since September, support has grown for the Red House and today we maintain an around-the-clock community presence along with onsite camping, a fully functional kitchen offering two free hot meals a day, and free programming centered in healing and abolition. This is what it looks like for neighbors to truly take care of each other.

After police were driven from the property, supporters and community members dismantled a fence set up by police around the home and began to set up barricades on the streets. As night fell, over 100 demonstrators had mobilized to defend the space and fortify the barricades.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler around this same time tweeted out, “I am authorizing the Portland Police to use all lawful means to end the illegal occupation on North Mississippi Avenue and to hold those violating our community’s laws accountable. There will be no autonomous zone in Portland.” Ironically, the Kinney family is currently in litigation to save their home with the US Supreme Court, and the “Urban Housing Development has until December 23rd to respond,” leading many to describe the current eviction as illegal itself.

Currently, thousands of renters across Oregon are threatened with eviction as a moratorium on evictions is set to expire at the end of the year as COVID-19 cases and deaths across the state explode. Just on Monday, “the Oregon Health Authority…announced 1,341 new confirmed or presumptive cases and 36 deaths, a single-day record for reported fatalities.” According to Democracy Now!:

New research finds more than 400,000 COVID-19 cases and nearly 11,000 deaths resulted from evictions, after many states allowed eviction moratoriums to expire over the summer.

The heroic and militant eviction defense in Portland in solidarity the Red House is just the latest action in a growing housing movement. This includes the formation of groups such as the Autonomous Tenant Union Network, organized rent strikes across the country, home reclamations in Oakland and in Southern California, and moving of formerly houseless families into squatted homes in Philadelphia.

Supporters of the Red House are encouraged to donate to a defense fund and join the ongoing eviction defense campaign on the ground.

While you’re here, we need your support. To continue running the website, we need support from community members like you. Will you support It’s Going Down, and help build independent media? donate?

Share This:

It’s Going Down is a digital community center from anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements. Our mission is to provide a resilient platform to publicize and promote revolutionary theory and action.

More Like This