Portland Dispatch February 5: There’s (still) a Red House Over Yonder

Antifa in Portland capped off 2020 with a remarkable victory over police, chasing them from and taking over a street they would occupy for days

Between 7 and 9 am on Dec. 8, a large crowd of individuals started to build after they got the news about the eviction. And it grew and it grew. The police were slowly drawing down. That crowd came through the backyard of an adjacent house, and they were throwing bottles and rocks and bricks and paint balloons at the police and screaming at them and threatening them about the eviction.

Police backed down the hill because they were outnumbered by the number of protesters. They pushed the police down into the street, down by the Mississippi Triangle, and they surrounded them.

I thought they were going to beat the cops in the street, and it was one of the scariest things I’ve seen in real life. I had never seen anything like that in America. At that moment, I was like: This is completely spun out of control, and this is really dangerous.

Then the large group went back to the Red House, and more people came in and they began to rip down the fence on the property. They went inside the house themselves and started pulling stuff out to build the barricades. They started carrying out refrigerators and washers and dryers.

They blocked the alleys and they blocked the side street of my house. They wouldn’t allow us to move our cars because they had fully barricaded us in. They said they had basically claimed the area and we weren’t able to leave.

On Saturday last week, an individual went around and broke the Ring cameras off of people’s front doors, on their doorbells, with a crowbar.

Mayor Wheeler apologized for the affront and made the surrender official. There was talk of selling the home at the center of the dispute-what antifa calls an “eviction defense”.

But the family had already been evicted; cops had come back to clear out squatters in the house and occupying a lot next door. Throughout the summer the “Red House on Mississippi” was an antifa base and ongoing festival. The neighborhood had endured this before it all blew up in December. When antifa quickly dismantled their barricades after the vague agreement was made, it seemed to me they knew how to quit when they were ahead, and were wisely taking their winnings.

But it appears nothing’s changed. The city merely abandoned the effort. The investors holding the title haven’t heard from the family, the camp remains as it was before all this started.

More than a month later, the house remains boarded up and the path to the front door is blocked with a tangle of wire and rope. A Moorish sovereign flag, representing a fringe belief system embraced by adherents who profess they are above the law, flies from the house.

The owner of the apartment building next door is suing the owners of the vacant lot for the squatters the city can’t or won’t clear out. The owners of the lot are trying to donate it to local black grifters

Bryan McLean, owner of the empty lot, said he had not read the lawsuit. He said he and his brother “have done everything reasonable that we can under the circumstances.”

He said they have on three occasions had trash cleared from the parcel. He said neighbors have asked for the land to be cleared of debris.

He said the deal to donate the lot is going to be taken up by the directors of Self Enhancement Inc. on Friday and is expected to be finalized soon.

“Meanwhile, we are trying to do everything that we can,” he said. “It’s a very sensitive situation.

The city meanwhile has surrendered the street and the monopoly on violence to antifa

Multiple neighbors, who declined to be identified out of fear for their personal safety, said they continue to be harassed by people staying on the property and at the red house.

One frustrated neighbor said the city has offered no timelines to resolve the situation and has failed to come up with a “clear plan” since the barricades came down.

“Every conversation we have with the city basically consist of them apologizing, admitting something should have been done months ago, acknowledging that people’s health and safety is in danger, then pointing the finger and saying they don’t have the authority or resources to resolve this,” the resident said in a text message to The Oregonian/OregonLive.

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