Woman facing eviction: ‘I’m not moving’
KATU: A local woman involved in a long fight against eviction faced a deadline last Thursday and demonstrators gathered outside her home in a show of support. “I’m not moving,” said Alicia Jackson, who lost her home to foreclosure last year. “They need to move and turn the water on. I don’t see why anyone should move out of their homes.”
Jackson did leave her house last year after failing to make payments but protesters ‘reclaimed’ it for her and handed back her keys. At the time, police let the events unfold but said they would eventually take action to remove her from the home.
A formal eviction was scheduled for Thursday and once again, Jackson’s supporters gathered outside the woman’s home to fight for her. The effort was spearheaded by We Are Oregon and folks from Occupy Portland, the Blazing Arrow Organization and other groups are involved as well.
Early Thursday morning, demonstrators held a press conference to explain Jackson’s situation and rally supporters. The main objective, according to Alejandro Juarez with We Are Oregon, is to get the water turned back on at the house.
The city plans to remove Jackson because the house lacks water service and is considered unfit for habitation. Jackson has offered to pay the overdue bill, but the city won’t take her money because she doesn’t own the building. Portland Water Bureau administrator David Shaff says the company that owns it is trying to evict Jackson and doesn’t want water service restored.
Juarez said Jackson has been making an effort to work with the city on the water situation. “We don’t think it’s fair that they (the city) are refusing to turn it on,” Juarez said. “They should do that (turn the water on) while she’s fighting the courts. Alicia has offered to pay the water bill and give the city revenue until this is over.” Jackson’s supporters have been bringing jugs of water to the house to help her out.
As far as the bigger picture goes, Juarez said his group is trying to educate people about foreclosure and what their options are. He said they want people to understand that they can fight back against the banks and should not give up easily when it comes to keeping a roof over their head. “We’re telling them not to move out of their homes and not to self evict,” he said.
Jackson, who works part-time as a construction road crew flagger, has been living without water in the home since May, when supporters marched from nearby Woodlawn Park and helped her move back in after she was first evicted.
“We feel it would be better to have someone in this house than have it vacant and boarded up, but the city’s answer is to have the house empty,” said Ahjamu Umi, of Occupy NE, also known as The Black Working Group. “To refuse Ms. Jackson’s service, the city is taking sides with the banks,” said the Rev. Cecil Prescod of the Ainsworth United Church of Christ.
Jackson, who told The Oregonian on Wednesday that she knew this day would come, drew cheers from the crowd when she said, “I am one of the last African-Americans living in this neighborhood. We have to stop the issue of home-poaching and gentrification.”
To support Jackson and push back against what supporters called corporate greed, “gangster banks,” and racist foreclosure practices, campers were invited to stake tents on the property. More Port-a-Johns will be installed, organizers said, and a meeting for campers will be held at noon.
Now whether the city and/or police actually show up to forcibly evict Jackson on Thursday is unknown at this point. The eviction order does state that the city needs to do a ‘security board up’ before Jackson is told to leave but at this point that has not been done.
I understand times are tough for many. Yet how can one claim they have a right to a home in which they don’t make payments? When you sign a contract you are held to the terms. It amazes me that people don’t want to take personal responsibility for their actions.