PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Barriers are slowly coming down on North Mississippi Avenue and other streets surrounding the “Red House” in North Portland on Monday.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he reached an agreement Saturday night with the Kinneys, the Black and Indigenous family who has been fighting to keep their foreclosed North Portland home. He said the streets and sidewalks near the home will be reopened.
Demonstrators started forming barricades around the home on Tuesday. They’ve since been occupying the area, trying to prevent the family’s eviction. Witnesses told KOIN 6 News that people inside the area were armed with guns.
In his statement Sunday, Wheeler said, “My goal remains finding a peaceful resolution to the situation on North Mississippi Avenue. My focus has been on protecting lives.”
There was still caution tape strung across the roadway Sunday night, but much of the other material had been moved. KOIN 6 News talked to some residents and business owners who said they were happy that things seemed to be resolving peacefully.
“That sounds very good first of all, and if they get the resolution to stay in the same house, making everyone happy — we will see,” Nu Rite Way Food Center’s Chris Kim said.
Some other business owners in the area have expressed frustration about the blockade — saying it’s stopped some customers from accessing their businesses. Online statements from some of those occupying the space indicated they were attempting to have the barricades taken down today.
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and Portland Police Bureau arrived at the home on Tuesday, Dec. 8. They were serving a writ of execution to evict the family, but were met with demonstrators opposing the eviction. A large number of firearms were discovered on the property and six people were found in the home. All six were arrested and charged with trespassing in the first degree, without incident.
According to the sheriff’s office, public court documents indicate that a civil complaint was filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Nov. 19, 2018, for an eviction due to a nonjudicial foreclosure on the home.
The current state and federal eviction moratoriums in place during the coronavirus pandemic do not apply to nonjudicial foreclosure cases, such as this, according to the Oregon Judicial Department.
In 2018, the family’s son, who goes by William X. Nietzche, filed a federal lawsuit in an attempt to block the eviction of their home on the 4400 block of North Mississippi Avenue, which was denied by a judge.
In a dismissal, the judge wrote Nietzche, who is not a lawyer, filed suit against entities that do not exist, such as the “United States Corporation Company,” and that they “requested irrelevant, nonsensical and sometimes offensive information” from the financial institutions.
After the forced sale two years ago, the judge said the family tried to transfer the property to their son, who then served a quit claim deed on various state officials, including the governor and the archdiocese of Portland — and sent a copy to an agency in Sweden.
The sheriff’s office said it worked with local service providers to get resources available such as shelters, bus passes, food, water, clothing, blankets and hand warmers prior to the Dec. 8 eviction. After they secured the property, it was turned over to the property owner who then hired contractors to remove items from the home and clear the property.