Tensions Escalate in Portland “Red House Autonomous Zone”; Mayor Authorized Police to Take it Down Days Ago
Portland, OR – Earlier this week, LENN told you about a situation in Portland where police were attacked serving (for a second time) a lawful eviction notice of what’s been dubbed the Red House on Mississippi. The occupiers of the residence have since barricaded themselves into the home and set up an “autonomous zone,” still refusing to leave the property.
Using government-owned fences and barricades to set up the zone and keep police out. They’ve also at this time set up booby traps around the property and the house, including boards on the ground with nails sticking out, similar to spike strips. They also have tied thick strips of plastic wrap pulled tight to deter police. They’ve also been standing guard, armed, on the perimeter.
There have also been reports of projectiles such as rocks and bricks lined up and ready to go around the property, and “defensive gear” seen as well, such as gas masks and helmets. The occupiers are said to be outraged over the legal eviction due to nonpayment because the family in the house is black.
The occupiers are dressed in what’s been commonly referred to as black bloc, where they wear all black and cover their faces with black masks. It’s been widely reported that the demonstrators causing riots as part of Black Lives Matter and Antifa have used the Red House for housing and food in between riots, which occurred for over six straight months.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said that he was authorizing police to use “all lawful means” to rid the neighborhood of the occupation. However, those “lawful means” have been severely limited due to the City taking away so many less lethal tools for officers. Therefore, the occupation has remained for the majority of this week.
Went to the Portland #RedHouse thing today. One of the most peculiar things I’ve ever seen. Several north Portland blocks barricaded in an autonomous zone-like manner. Feel bad for the folks living in the neighborhood who get caught up in all of this.
City needs to clean it up. pic.twitter.com/xviAZGgay8
— Ben Snead (@realbensnead) December 10, 2020
At the time of this writing, what some are calling the “Red House Autonomous Zone” stretches over two blocks. Police have said they’re getting calls from residents in the area citing fear of the occupiers, and local newspapers have reported that residents are fed up with police inaction.
One resident, Brad Ness, told Oregon Public Broadcasting, “I can’t understand why Wheeler and (the police) allowed them all day to fortify the thing. This is ridiculous.”
Portland Chief Chuck Lovell said, “Those at the barricade should put down their weapons, leave it behind and allow the neighborhood to return to peace and order. Portland police will enforce the law and use force if necessary to restore order.
“We want a peaceful and safe resolution to the occupation of public space on North Mississippi Avenue. We are greatly concerned about the fortification of barricades, stockpiling of weapons, armed sentries, attacks on journalists, and threats to kill officers in graffiti in this public space.”
There’s a current moratorium in Oregon on evictions due to COVID-19, but that is only valid for previously ordered evictions. The Kinneys are said to have paid off the original mortgage on the home, which was purchased by the Kinney family in 1950, but took out a second mortgage on the home in 2002 to pay a criminal defense attorney and legal fees for a family member who was arrested and ultimately sentenced to 10 years in prison. It’s unclear why they had to take out such a hefty loan when defense attorneys can be appointed to those who can’t afford them.
After failing to pay those bills, the home was foreclosed upon in 2018 and sold to The Urban Housing Development LLC in an auction. The developer sued the Kinney family after they refused to move out. The Kinneys countersued, saying “illegal and predatory bank tactics” were used to secure their home.
Apparently, after the loan was transferred more than once at the end of 2016/beginning of 2017, they became “confused” over who they were supposed to pay. A judge wrote an order to “clearly explain the transition between loan servicers and the date payment was to be made to each servicer.”
Despite the explanation, the family then missed 17 months of payment and had been warned their house would be foreclosed, a naturally occurring consequence to nonpayment.
Morning! Still at the Red House. Since 330am numbers have dwindled but now the morning folks are coming through. Cars honk as they pass by barricades. There are endless traps and walls with security at every entrance. People are walking around making coffee and talking. pic.twitter.com/zWkNfSJ5RS
— Griffin – Live Protest News (@GriffinMalone6) December 9, 2020
The family filed for an emergency stay on the eviction, but due to both the extensive legal battle and length of time the family has been in the home illegally, as well as the increasing call load for police services to the home, the judge denied the request. Those calls for police services have continued increasing: As LENN reported, there have been 81 calls for police to the home by nearby residents just from September to November.
The Portland Police said neighbors report “significant livability, public safety, and public health concerns.” The Portland Police also said, “Calls for service included, but were not limited to, fights, disturbances, shots fired, burglary, thefts, vandalism, noise violations, trespassing, threats, including by armed individuals, and for illegally blocking traffic, sidewalks and access to homes.”
Rioters have been seen wearing “Press” on their bulletproof vests, but real journalists have been repeatedly attacked during the rioting as well as now at the Red House. Local KATU news sent a team out to investigate the conditions of the home. The team members were assaulted when they attempted to enter the autonomous zone; a female journalist had her hand bloodied and her phone smashed by occupiers.
Anyway, here’s what my camera caught today. When I saw Ric getting surrounded, I took out my phone to record. Within seconds it gets knocked from my hand. pic.twitter.com/W37dlwkQv2
— Genevieve Reaume (@GenevieveReaume) December 9, 2020
Ric Peavyhouse and Genevieve Reaume were the team members on scene and recorded their confrontation with the occupiers donned in black bloc, who used umbrellas to avoid the cameras and identification. On camera, an occupier is heard saying, “There’s a film crew coming through. They’re not our friends! Hide your faces! Don’t trust them!”
Peavyhouse tweeted after the altercation, “It seemed safe at first but a crowd quickly surrounded us…We wanted to talk to those involved in the demonstration.”
Reaume said, “Journalism means telling the whole story. You can’t accurately tell a story you know nothing about. That’s why we spend so much time interviewing people impacted (just as we did today before this incident). We had every right to be there/record.”
Reaume stated that she and Peavyhouse stayed on public property during the incident. She also tweeted, “I went into broadcast journalism because I value the importance of video. We can bring scenes into your living room – for you to watch – and we give you the facts. This was our effort to show you what was behind the barricades. What hurts most is how little faith ppl have in journalism. I can honestly tell you I’m a fair, passionate journalist.”
Reaume indicated that she went to urgent care to get her hand looked at. She tweeted, “Hand isn’t broken, thankfully! Wound was glued up at urgent care.”
This is what antifa do. Recall how they repeatedly punched me in the head & gave me a brain hemorrhage. There has been no solidarity or organized effort by journalists to protect one another covering this movement. Instead, antifa have been the ones protected by mainstream press.
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) December 9, 2020
While leaving, one occupier was heard shouting at her, “Fuck your hand!”
The Post Millennial’s editor at large, Andy Ngo, has been following Antifa for over a year, especially after he was attacked and repeatedly punched in the head on camera by the group. He responded to Peaveyhouse’s Twitter post with, “This is what antifa do. Recall how they repeatedly punched me in the head & gave me a brain hemorrhage.
“There has been no solidarity or organized effort by journalists to protect one another covering this movement. Instead, antifa have been the ones protected by mainstream press.”
Thursday marks day three of the autonomous zone that Mayor Wheeler declared would not be.