January 24, 2013

Civil disobedience demanding an end to evictions

From We are Oregon today:

Four community members are conducting an act of civil disobedience today risking arrest to demand an end to evictions. The group has said that until the community demands are met they refuse to leave the Multnomah County Sheriff's office. The delegation is demanding no more evictions in Multnomah County, no public funds used to remove families from homes through bank-driven evictions. This action is part of a large rally of housing justice supporters who have gathered in support of the recently evicted Austin family.

On Wednesday January 16, at 5am, at the behest of Fannie Mae, Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton along with 12 deputies and 10 Portland Police forcefully evicted the original Portland eviction resisters - Debbie and Ron Austin.

Fannie Mae, the government-backed mortgage broker coordinated with the Sheriff for the eviction and has now placed an armed private security force at the house to guard this empty home. Prevailing wage for private security indicates that a 24-hour armed guard at the home costs taxpayers approximately $480 a day.

"We have met with the Sheriff, written letters, and made phone calls to no avail. Even the courts have ruled that the banks were guilty of fraudulent behaviors as part of the housing crisis. Sheriff must respond to the clear evidence that the banks are in the wrong and he should not be colluding with them to evict families." said Kari Koch, spokesperson with We Are Oregon. "We are taking action today because Sheriff Staton is already over budget and must stop spending public money enforcing big banks' access to our communities' wealth."

Fannie Mae controls over half the mortgages in the US and was involved in the national housing collapse. In a report on Fannie Mae earlier this year, the New York Times reported, "During the housing boom, they misused the government's support to enrich shareholders and executives by backing millions of shoddy loans. Fannie and Freddie lost more than $30 billion, in part as a result of the deals, losses that were borne mostly by taxpayers."

We Are Oregon has partnered with a national housing justice group, the Home Defenders League, to demand that Fannie Mae stop all evictions. There was a meeting between this national coalition of housing defenders and Fannie Mae earlier today in Washington DC. Updates about this meeting will be shared at www.weareoregon.org. For up to the minute updates visit us on Facebook.

In Solidarity,

Angela MacWhinnie
We Are Oregon

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