‘I’m on fixed income’: Tigard seniors sue apt over rent change

Washington County

Woodspring Apartments currently affordable housing for seniors

TIGARD, Ore. (KOIN) — For the past 30 years, an apartment building in Tigard has been designated as affordable housing for low-income seniors. But this past January 1, the residents were notified that would no longer be the case.

The residents of the Woodspring Apartments filed suit against Mission Rock Residential, the Denver-based company that manages the apartments, which are owned by Hamilton Zanze.

There are 172 units at Woodspring Apartments, currently a community for those 55-and-over. The rent hike is slated to be increased to the market rate by January 2024. That means tenants would end up paying an estimated $500 more each month.

Senior residents who spoke with KOIN 6 News said they’ve lived at the complex for years and have no other options. Many are on fixed incomes and can’t afford to move or pay higher rent.

Lois Keck is a resident at Woodspring Apartments in Tigard, July 1, 2021 (KOIN)

“Where do we go? What do we do? I can’t afford it. I’m on a fixed income,” said Heidi Johnstone, who moved in with her service dog, Lily, in 2019. She said she planned to stay there the rest of her life and never dreamed she would be thinking about living in her car.

Johnstone helped rally tenants to fight back.

Lois Keck, who has lived there for 18 years said she feels “like I have no options and that’s very, very frustrating and it’s very scary.”

“There are so many people here that are scared, scared to death of what they’re going to face even to the point of comments about suicide,” said resident Sandy Jackson, who’s been there for 11 years.

Coy Lay, who has been at Woodspring for about 18 months, said, “I do think there will be people who die because this has been done.”

In a statement to KOIN 6 News, Mission Rock Residential officials said: “The Hamilton Zanze Property Owners have been actively meeting with the residents and Tigard community leaders to explore potential affordability solutions.”

They also said they are aware of the lawsuit and can’t comment at this time.

Tenants at Woodspring Apartments in Tigard made this sign (Courtesy photo)

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