Portland Coalition Rushes to Defend Evicted Woman's House

Search form

Portland Coalition Rushes to Defend Evicted Woman's House

Portland Coalition Rushes to Defend Evicted Woman's House
Wed, 8/8/2012 - by Pete Shaw
This article originally appeared on The Portland Occupier

Photo: Pete Shaw.

Nearly 75 members of Portland’s Rapid Response Network (RRN) assembled outside Alicia Jackson’s home at noon last Sunday, within ten minutes of receiving a text message calling for their assistance. “The cops were acting fools in the front and backyard,” said Lobo, co-founder of the Blazing Arrow Organization (BAO). “We were afraid they were going to come in here (Jackson’s house). We put out the call to protect Alicia and her house.”

The quick action of the RRN, many of whose members had arrived nearly 12 hours earlier when police descended upon the duplex that was claimed for a community center Sunday, apparently kept police from seizing Jackson’s property. During the early morning raid, Dir’k Zizka, an activist with the BAO and We Are Oregon, was arrested and charged with trespass and burglary. But according to Lobo, “Nobody was living in this duplex since it was built, because nobody has wanted to move onto land that has been stolen from the original resident. The burglary charge will not hold up in court because they have absolutely no evidence that the person who was arrested stole anything, or that they were planning to commit a crime.”

Taran Connelly, an organizer with the Portland Liberation Organizing Council, added, “After Alicia was illegally evicted last fall, a developer built a condo on her lawn. What’s happening with Mr. Zizka is a scapegoating of one person who took a stand for community control of community resources yesterday when that condo was turned into a community center. Mayor Sam Adams and his police are doing the bidding of the big banks right now, in full contradiction to his cheerleading of the occupy movement last fall.”

On November, 10, 2011, Mayor Adams said in his statement regarding the eviction of Occupy Portland, “It is my sincere hope that the movement, with its focus on widespread economic inequity, will flourish in its next phase—a phase where we can focus all of our energies on economic and social justice, not on port-a-potties and tents. I believe Occupy Portland can lead the nation in this next phase of the Occupy Movement, and I personally look forward to working with participants toward their broader goals.”

What support this land liberation movement lacks from the 1%, their politicians and their police bureau enforcers is more than compensated for by many within the community. Throughout Northeast Portland there are hundreds of lawn signs expressing support for those fighting foreclosure by refusing to leave their homes. As members of the RRN conferred in groups, a man drove by and stopped to comment.“They’re just scooping them all up,” he said, in reference to the duplex on Jackson’s property. “You’re doing the right thing. I appreciate it so much. Keep doing what you got to do.”

When asked about the police presence on her property, Alicia Jackson chose to emphasize the bigger picture. “Capitalists have been stealing from black and brown people for centuries. When we want back what is ours, only then is it called criminal. This is not burglary. We’re taking back what was stolen from us. We’re doing what’s right. It’s the banks that did the stealing.”

“They’re framing this from the typical point of view that the developer is a victim.” said Ahjamu Umi, of the Black Working Group and the Portland Liberation Organizing Council. “He’s not. He’s made his money flipping houses, profiting from people’s misery. Alicia and the community are fighting back.”

Lobo believes the Portland Police did the RRN a favor and sees it as part of a learning process. “We are learning to anticipate their moves. If they decide to initiate violence, we will be ready to respond.” Using Zizka as an example, Lobo acknowledged the challenges faced by those who agree with Ahjamu and Jackson, that the real crime comes in denying humans a right to shelter. “But it’s better to take a risk and get everything than take no risk and get kicked out of the neighborhood.”

Article Tabs

Marches around the country last week showed diversity among a new and growing cohort of activists taking climate justice to new levels of resistance.

Riot police withdrew Monday morning after failing to rein in mass crowds – and a wave of civil disobedience led by students – demanding open elections without Beijing's interference.

Fueled by a credit binge in Asia that's pushed global private and public debt to new highs, the “poisonous combination” of spiraling debts and low growth could trigger another crisis.

People who purchase occupied properties will evict current residents starting a cycle of blight and displacement that will cost individuals, owners, the community and the city in the long run.

Born and raised on the North Side of St. Louis, Mo., 24-year-old rapper Prince Ea has a sound unlike most artists coming out of the Midwest.

Americans need to say no now to this new scheme, lest we allow the past mortgage crisis to become a current rent fiasco.

Posted 6 days 13 hours ago

KathyJo Torrenga and her husband decided to challenge their foreclosure on their own, learning as much as they could about mortgage securitization and the damages caused by it.

Posted 4 days 20 hours ago

2014 is on pace to be the Year of Dark Money.

Posted 4 days 19 hours ago

A publicly-owned bank could help Scotland take control of its own economic destiny by avoiding unnecessary debt to a private banking system that's become a burden to the economy.

Posted 4 days 19 hours ago

This Acronym TV report from the Flood Wall Street day of action features exclusive footage, analysis and interviews with people at the heart of the movement.

Posted 4 days 19 hours ago

In the tradition of forest defenders in the Northwest and mountain defenders in Appalachia, the Texas campaign to block the Keystone XL pipeline has embraced escalated direct action performed by people across the social and political spectrum.

Lula Rod

At the Heart of An Occupation is photographer Stacy Lanyon’s photo journal of the people who comprise Occupy Wall Street. On July 24, she presented Freedom, in her own words.

 

Iowans Sue Egregious Polluter

For years, residents of the Mississippi River town of Muscatine put up with constant pollution and "dangerously high" levels of toxic compounds that damaged their property and affected their health. Now they are fighting back.

Three Ways the Obama Administration Could Help the Housing Market RIGHT NOW

It is hardly a secret that the Obama administration’s programs to bolster the housing market and help struggling homeowners have failed to meet expectations.

Seventy percent of Japan's population wants a nuclear-free future but the government is ignoring their demands, even as experts give cleanup operations at Fukushima a centuries-long timetable.

Sign Up