Reportbacks from Portland May Day foreclosure defense

via PLOC. May 1:

Success! Today’s action

Neighborhood leads May Day foreclosure defense, reclaims property and home of woman unjustly evicted by the bank

Portland, OR — Today, the community of NE Portland rallied and reclaimed the home of Alicia Jackson, longtime Portland resident, who had been driven from her home last July. Approximately 400 people gathered in Woodlawn at 9am and marched with banners, music, and chanting the four blocks to Alicia’s home. The Portland Liberation Organizing Council and the Black Working Group, along with a dozen allies and partners, organized this home defense.

The neighborhoods hosted a press conference on the steps of the house with Alicia, Ahjamu Umi of the Black Working Group, Father Jack Mosbrucker, retired from St Therese Catholic Church , and Rain Crowe of PLOC. The community then cut a yellow ribbon to enter the house and begin cleaning out the accumulated dust. Other community members began carting in soil, garden tools, and supplies. The neighbors brought out food dishes, spaghetti, pizza, and snacks to share with the crowd.

“Home is where the heart is,” Alicia said during the reclamation.

The home defense went forward without incident and appeared be broadly supported by the neighborhood, many of whom already had “Support your neighbors, stop foreclosure” signs in their front yards. The sun came out as community members shared food, played games, and danced a Maypole together.

“Today was a beautiful example of how the community can come together and provide for each others needs,” said Heidi Whipple of PLOC. “This community action was about how banks don’t need home, people do; and when the community controls the land, the homes, and the resources, we make better decisions than corporations.”

This space liberation is one of many activities happening on May Day in Portland this year. Many of the action organizers have adopted the St Paul’s Principles stating that they respect a diversity of approaches to social change and will not be condemning one another’s actions.

The Portland Liberation Organizing Council is made up of a dozen community groups, issue-based organizations, faith congregations, and neighborhood groups who believe that the current economic system and its systems of oppression are fundamental problems that create the disparity of wealth and resources that we see in our neighborhoods today.  We work to organize and mobilize to dismantle these exploitative systems while creating alternatives with our communities. Capitalism is not broken, it is built for someone else.

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via Portland Mercury. May 1:

May Day Rally Reclaims Foreclosed House; Cops Make Arrests in Downtown March

This morning, a group of 150 or so NE neighbors, Occupy veterans, the Portland Liberation Organizing Council (PLOC), people facing foreclosure on their homes, and folks from a multitude of local community organizations rallied together in Northeast Portland to reclaim a previously foreclosed home on NE Bryant and 6th. The previously unknown location was the destination of a 9:30 am march that started at Woodlawn Park.

Alicia Jackson, who was booted from the house in August and currently living with her father, was “overwhelmed” by the community’s support and action to bring her home. “There’s unity in community,” Jackson said after opening the door to her home for the first time, followed by volunteers carrying moving boxes. “This is amazing!” While she successfully reclaimed her home today, her side yard has already been occupied by a new rental complex, funding by the bank loans.

Along with helping Jackson move her things back into the home and change the locks, folks put on gardening gloves and pulled weeds and replanted flowers in her front lawn. Ralliers of all ages also blocked off the street to kick off a block party—fit with food, music and games (yes, tax dodger dodge-ball). A few participants even sawed down the “for sale” sign and made it into a maypole.

Despite a pair of police cars parked far down the street, the mellow event drew little police attention. It looks like the majority of the police force is downtown covering the Occupy strike march—keep your eyes on the blog to follow the rest of today’s May Day happenings!

Update 1:05 PM: That march downtown has already lead to more than a dozen arrests. About 150 or so protesters who started marching from the underbelly of the Burnside Bridge are facing off with cops trying to keep them off downtown streets. Scuffles have been reported at SW Salmon and Broadway, SW Fifth and Start, and SW First and Pine. There’s been one smoke bomb so far, but no tear gas or pepper spray. But, wait… what’s that? Rot cops appear to be showing up.

 

 

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PLOC. May 1:

Open Letter to Mayor Adams from PLOC

April 30, 2012
Portland Liberation Organizing Council
Contact: Cindy Jones
(971) 266-0397 (cell)

Open Letter to Mayor Adams,

The Portland Liberation Organizing Council (PLOC) received your email requesting a liaison for May Day activities. We acknowledge your request and offer the following suggestions for moving forward. We cannot speak for the entirety of the May Day organizing community, it is vast and diverse, but we can speak for the community that will begin to liberate land on May Day that has been unjustly stolen by the banks and corporations.

May Day is a celebration of community spirit; PLOC will be hosting a May Day block party to celebrate and defend one neighborhood reclaiming what was taken from them by the banks.

You say that the Mayor has heard the call to act on behalf of the people of this city, and while indeed that is his job, we know that in many cases the city is unwilling or unable to meet the needs of people in our communities – such as when families are facing foreclosure, when workers are laid off, or when the price of a loaf of bread increases by 68%. What we want is not handouts or programs from the Mayor’s office, but community self-determination to house, feed, and have space for the people in our neighborhoods.

You say that the Mayor has called on the Federal Government to make changes to budgeting priorities and, while that is a well-intentioned gesture, it is clear that requests are ineffective. The concerns raised by the broad occupy movement have been primarily ignored by those in power. There has been no significant effort to defund war, regulate banks, remove corporations from our democracy, or to empower communities with healthy food, living wage jobs, and secure homes.

We invite the Mayor’s full support for the reclamation of land that has been unjustly stolen by the banks based on this statement last November, “It is my sincere hope that the movement, with its focus on widespread economic inequity, will flourish in its next phase — a phase where we can focus all of our energies on economic and social justice, not on port-a-potties and tents,” Sam Adams said.

We choose to focus our energies and attention on the direct social and economic issues confronting our families, our schools, our communities, and our city and we invite Mayor Adams’ support of this decision. May Day is the Spring Bloom of the movement to directly confront and begin to solve the problems our communities face.

We need action, not advocacy; we need power, not handouts; we want solutions, not band-aids. On May Day we will show the critical difference between a group that requests reforms and a community that is empowered to meet its own needs.

We also recognize that the Portland Police have a long and storied history of suppressing social movements, and of initiating violence in our neighborhoods. We have no interest in a police presence at this event.

We have designated a police liaison on May Day to communicate with the both the city and the police about their role. We call on Mayor Adams to lead the police force in standing aside while the community reclaims what has been stolen from them by the banks. The police liaison will be onsite all day to communicate with the police and the city as needed.

We invite the Mayor meet with the information team and the police liaison at 9:30 am at Woodlawn Park, located at NE 13th and Dekum. Please call Cindy Jones at (971) 266-0397 when you are onsite and we will arrange a meeting location in the park.

We look forward to your cooperation.

Sincerely,
Portland Liberation Organizing Council

http://www.liberatepdx.org
(971) 266-0397 (cell)
@liberatemayday

****

From Clay Neal of Mayor Adams’ office.

Hi May Day Liberators and Occupy Portland -

I’m reaching out on behalf of Mayor Adams. I know that there are some
planned events in celebration of International Worker’s Day next Tuesday,
and I want to let you know that I am available to discuss the intentions
and logistics of those events as well as any concerns or questions you may
have leading up to them.

Regarding intentions, the Mayor heard a clear call for the City of
Portland to act on behalf of our community through the ongoing Occupy
Portland protests. The Mayor is passionate in his fight against social and
economic inequality, greed, corruption, and the undue influence of
corporations on government. Most recently, he has directed City efforts to
support community-focused banks through its investment portfolio, lend
legal support to the fight for campaign finance reform and against
corporate personhood, call on the Federal Government to spend less money
on wars and more on domestic priorities like education and housing, and
require accountability for predatory lenders and support for homeowners
who have been subject to those practices. These are four issues I have
personally worked on with the Mayor over the past six months, but there
are many other important projects related to these issues that he has
championed in the four years that I have been working with him.

His historic support for and advocacy on behalf of these issues is why
Mayor Adams wants to be supportive of a safe and productive celebration of
International Worker’s Day next Tuesday. Our request is for a liaison to
be identified for our office to work with before and on May 1st. This kind
of relationship has been very helpful and positive in the past, including
on February 29th.

Thanks for considering the Mayor’s humble request. I am available by email
or phone at any time.

Sincerely,
Clay

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Clay Roberts Neal
Director, Public Safety & Peacekeeping
Office of Mayor Sam Adams
1221 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 340
Portland, OR 97204
P: 503-823-4779
E: clay.neal@portlandoregon.gov<mailto:clay.neal@portlandoregon.gov>

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