Militant Defense Against Eviction and Police in Portland

Published December 9, 2020

Eviction Stopped by Militant Collective Defense in Portland

Militants in Portland, Oregon attacked pigs with rocks, sprayed fire extinguishers at them, and damaged police vehicles in defense of a Black and Indigenous family threatened by eviction.

The action of collective defense took place as thousands of people in Oregon and across the country are facing eviction with a pandemic-inspired moratorium on evictions set to expire within weeks in Oregon. Federal renter protections are also set to expire on Dec. 31, as politicians have made no attempts to stop people from losing their homes, and COVID cases and deaths continue to surge.

Since the George Floyd uprising began, Portland has been the site of nearly continuous militancy against the police.

A group of comrades for months have defended the home dubbed “Red House on Mississippi” because it is on North Mississippi Avenue — to oppose gentrification and the eviction of the Black and Indigenous family in September.

The house has belonged to the Kinney family since the 1950s, according to the website for the Red House on Mississippi group defending against the eviction.

The Kinneys paid off their house but took out a new mortgage to pay defense lawyers after a family member was arrested in 2002, the Red House on the Mississippi group has said.

The house went into foreclosure and was sold to a developer at a 2018 auction, according to the group.

The family argued in court that the eviction moratorium in place until the New Year should apply to their case, but a judge in September found it did not apply because their struggles began before the pandemic struck.

The reactionary landlord of the Red House complained that people were trespassing and pigs showed up before dawn and arrested seven people.

Following the arrests and the clashes, militants on Tuesday afternoon used power tools to set up a barricade with wire fencing, debris and wood pallets to block off street access to the house. The demonstrators also hung signs saying “Stop the Foreclosures” and “No Jurisdiction.”

Militants threw rocks, paint-filled balloons at pigs, broke a police vehicle window and deflated the vehicles' tires.

Pigs left the area around 10 a.m. and it has since been barricaded and occupied by around 100 comrades.

As more and more people around the country are threatened with evictions, this militancy provides an example of effective collective defense against the forces of state repression.