The Portland Solidarity Network supports two tenants as they make demands on their exploitative former property management company, and the video captures their moment of community power.
On Tuesday, January 20th, a group of almost forty people gathered around the corner from Aubrey’s former property management company, Fox Management. Though nervous as the crowd was growing, Aubrey was preparing to confront the manager that had closed the door on her former apartment. Local news Koin 6 was there to see why they were confronting their landlord, and how they were able to continue to live in a city that is becoming more and more unaffordable for renters. Aubrey and her mother Becky had dealt with disrepair, both on their plumbing and their refrigerator, for years. With raw sewage coming into their apartment, spoiled food, and radically high rents, they were reaching a breaking point. It was at this point that their negligent landlord gave them a no-cause eviction.
Aubrey started by speaking out about her treatment, which now left her and her mother with no place to go after forcing them out of their home of eleven years.
"We've been there eleven and a half years, and we've never been late. We don't know what to do," she said. "Our apartment, they've got is listed for $925, which is almost $300 more than what we pay there. It's just ridiculous."
Her mother, Becky, elaborated on her fears of leaving.
"It's hard out there to even find a place to move to. It's scarey thinking that you might be out on the street."
The crowd marched directly into the office, where staff immediately asked them to leave. Determined, they went up the stairs and into the office where they knew their relevant property manager would be. Instead of hearing what Aubrey had to say, she slammed the door shut and refused to let them in. Instead, Aubrey read the letter out loud and shoved it under the door as one other distant staff person threatened to call the police.
"To Kallie Caito & Fox Management, Inc.:
It has come to our attention that Aubrey and Becky Kirk, 11-year tenants of Rose Tabor Court Apartments are owed $1600 in costs relating to habitability. We also demand that you drop the unfair fees of $437.50. Meet these demands by Tuesday, January 27th or we will take further action.
Do not contact Aubrey or Becky directly.
Contact Portland Solidarity Network when you are prepared to drop the fees and make the payment. We will pick up the check at your office.
Portland Solidarity Network"
The collective chants and claps of the community drowned this out, as the force of solidarity had a much stronger presence in that building.
Afterwards, Aubrey fought back tears as she thanked all the supporters who had come out, and who had raised their voices in protest.
This was only the first step in a campaign that has a growing set of escalations in front of it. They will need the community to continue to come out, challenging the authority of a property management company that has essentially taken away Aubrey’s home. This is the regular battle that is taking place in this city, where normal working-class people are fighting just for a right to live in the place they have called home for so long. Without a movement that stands up from the ranks of the city’s tenants, we will never be able to keep this city our own. As the waves of gentrification and development flush the long-time residents of Portland further and further out, we have to depend on the organized support of the community to fight back.
The day of the demand delivery, they had an eviction notice taped to their door. They will be appearing in court at 9:00 AM on January 27th to hear more about this eviction, which is the exact day that the Portland Solidarity Network has noted they expect a response from the property management company. If not, then the campaign will begin to escalate, and will not end until the entire list of demands has been met.