June 13, 2024

Protesters rally to save a Black family’s home

A Black family in Portland, Oregon has lost their home of 60 years due to foreclosure after taking out mortgages to pay their legal fees.

Protesters barricaded the property they’ve referred to as “The Red House” and are shedding light on modern-day concerns regarding urban safety, homelessness, the coronavirus pandemic and gentrification.

Image via GoFundMe

According to The New York Times, William Kinney III, a spokesperson on behalf of the Kinney family, who have lived in the 124-year-old house since the mid-1950s, said the family were victims of predatory lenders.

Read More: Portland protesters chase off police trying to evict Black family

Kinney also said the eviction was an attempt to move them out of the home as business projects are emerging in the area — which sits on North Mississippi Avenue in a busy shopping district.

Portland’s mayor Ted Wheeler said that the court-ordered eviction of the Kinney family was legal and denounced the protesters. Wheeler issued a series a tweets regarding the eviction.

Wheeler highlighted the crises impacting Black people, but also called for an end to protesters camping around the property.

“It’s also true that illegal trespassing, ignoring lawful orders from police, blocking sidewalks and streets, and intimidating neighbors inflame these crises and make them more difficult to solve. That is what’s happening on North Mississippi Avenue right now,” wrote Wheeler.

According to a website created by supporters, the family was unable to receive a mortgage due to redlining policies in the 1950s and paid cash for the house.

Kinney said his parents took out a mortgage on the family home in order to pay off their legal fees due to him being arrested and sent to prison in 2002.

“We don’t need another empty, high-rise, high-rent luxury condominium. The Kinneys are one of the last Black families remaining on Mississippi and their fight for their home is also a real-time fight against gentrification,” the website said.

Read More: More US churches are committing to racism-linked reparations

On Sept. 9, Multnomah County Judge Judith H. Matazarro signed off on the family’s eviction which led to the family being forced out of their home at gunpoint.

According to their son, the Kinney family has been staying in hotels and with friends. When he occasionally stayed in the house secretly since September, he said officers revisited the home to “re-secure” the property and broke the plumbing.

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