PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said a tentative agreement has been reached between a Portland, Oregon family and the developer who owns a home that has been the site of a week-long occupation.
Monday’s press conference comes nearly one week after the beginning of the occupation at North Portland’s “Red House” Mississippi Avenue. Demonstrators started forming barricades around the home last Tuesday and have since been occupying the area, trying to prevent the Kinney family’s eviction.
But residents in the Humboldt neighborhood are frustrated and fed up with the occupation and describe it as “unacceptable.”
Shortly before 6 p.m., the roads around the Red House were opened to vehicular traffic — the first time in almost a week cars could get through.
“The Mayor’s office used words, not weapons, to advance the safety of the neighborhood,” Wheeler said. He said that his office helped facilitate the negotiations, but that it was between two private parties.
“I want to thank both Kinney family and developer,” he said. Streets around the Red House reopened on Monday as barricades came down.
Wheeler said he wanted to use this as an opportunity to call on the “political gridlock in Washington D.C and Salem” over the upcoming end of the eviction moratorium in the new year.
“Support for rent relief is urgently needed,” he said.
Wheeler also thanked the neighbors and the neighborhood for their patience.
The Kinney family, however, denied that an agreement has been reached.
“We have no choice but to continue occupying the land for the Kinney family. While our demands have been pushed through at the governmental level and the family’s story has reached a global audience, our fight is not over. The Kinneys have not yet secured their home. Developer Roman Ozeruga has yet to initiate any negotiations. The family’s cases remain in litigation,” a statement from the family said.
Wheeler said he did not regret his initial tweet last week authorizing the Portland police to “use all lawful means to end the illegal occupation” but apologized to the Kinney family for any threats that they received in response to it.
Neighbors want the occupation to end
Stanley Minor, who describes himself as a “proud supporter of the neighborhood,” says his building was vandalized.
“It’s hard to continue when you own a building and support the neighborhood and then it gets terrorized,” Minor said. “I’m sorry to say it but I don’t think it’s right. There’s other ways to get support. That’s not the way to get support.”
Minor said he’s not afraid of the protesters and is frustrated with city leadership.
Another neighbor who didn’t want to be identified over the fear of retribution said none of his neighbors want the armed occupation.
“I don’t know if what’s going on there excuses blocking off a part of Portland and then having armed guards patrol a neighborhood. This is unacceptable to me and everyone I talk to personally.”
This neighbor said they’ve seen “at least 2 Smith-and-Wesson Sport 2 AR-15 rifles.” “I’ve seen a Remingont 870 with a bandolier of ammo,” the neighbor added.
“When there’s ammunition and guns in a residential neighborhood, that’s a recipe for something bad to happen. And I’m sure these kids out here don’t want that on their conscience, either. Any more than someone would want to be injured by a stray bullet.”
The neighbor wonders if all the property taxes they’ve paid “can’t go towards preventing armed vigilantes from patrolling my neighborhood.”