Portland protestors chase off police trying to evict Black family

Portland protesters have taken up the cause of the 'Red House of Mississippi' to prevent the displacement of a Black and indigenous family

Protesters in Portland, Oregon chased off police who were trying to evict a Black and indigenous family that has lived at the residence for 65 years.

The Kinney family has lived at their home on Mississippi Ave. in one of the city’s historic districts for more than six decades but they were foreclosed in 2018, OPB reported. They have disputed their foreclosure according to a website associated with the home. The family maintained they were misled after a 2014 refinancing of their home with Beneficial Oregon which was then transferred from Beneficial to MTGLQ Investors (a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs) without their knowledge.

Red House On Mississippi (official website)

Each entity demanded payment and the family was unsure who to pay. In 2017, the loan was once again sold and a year later, Clear Recon Corporation began the process of foreclosing. Throughout it all, the Kinney’s have challenged the process and tried to regain ownership of their home, even bidding on it when it was auctioned, to no avail.

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Multnomah County Judge Judith H. Matazarro authorized the family’s eviction and on Sept. 9 they were forced out of their home at gunpoint. But activists took up the cause of Red House on Mississippi, as the house has come to be known. Angered that the Kinneys were being forced out, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, they decided to occupy the home 24/7, raising $40,000 on behalf of keeping them there.

Oregon declared a state of emergency and issued a nationwide eviction moratorium in April due to the pandemic which was extended until December. The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office stated in a press release that “The eviction moratoriums do not apply to evictions based on post-nonjudicial foreclosures, such as this case,” and attempted to evict the family on Tuesday.

They police claimed they had the authority to “re-secure a home in which the occupants were previously ordered removed by court order,” in order to enforce a “property mission.” They were met by 100 protesters who shielded the home and created a barricade.

In footage that has since gone viral, the heavily armed officers are seen retreating from the premises as protesters punched and kicked the car. Objects were also thrown at the cops and their vehicles and a fire extinguisher was also used to force police into retreating.

“Get the f— out,” one protester shouted.

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The police backed off and there were no reported injuries, but arrests were made for trespassing and resisting arrest. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has now authorized police to use “all lawful means” to remove the protesters.

“It’s time for the encampment and occupation to end,” the mayor wrote. “There are many ways to protest and work toward needed reform. Illegally occupying private property, openly carrying weapons, threatening and intimidating people are not among them.”

Kinney family Portland
The Kinney Family (Credit: Red house on Mississippi)

Maurice Fain, the president of the Historic Mississippi Avenue Business Association, witnessed the scene unfold from the sidewalk. He owns Southern Kitchen PDX food which operates on Mississippi Ave. and said there had been no complaints about the protesters.

Fain faulted the gentrification that has taken place in the neighborhood and decried “raising” rents which were causing people to be displaced. The KInneys say that the area has become more attractive to developers and that a lot adjacent their home is now worth over $10M.

“You’re taking away something that belongs to them, that they’ve been having in their family for generations,” Fain said. “As business owners, as community people living here, we should help another family stay in the community. We shouldn’t want to destroy them so we can build sky rises and apartment complexes to get wealthy.”

Activist Gary Floyd has been feeding the homeless from the back of the Red House. He expected the police to return and took issue with “justice” being the reason they were there to begin with.

“They occupied the space by force. They removed — their definition of removed — some property. They destroyed whatever they didn’t want to take, which was food,” he said Tuesday. “Everything that happened this morning had nothing to do with justice.”

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