Barricades were coming down Dec. 13 around a blocks-long stretch around the so-called Red House occupation zone in Portland after city authorities reached a deal allowing the family at the heart of the foreclosure and eviction dispute to remain in the house as negotiations on its future continue, according to local reports.
Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office told Oregon Live that police have agreed not to force the Kinney family to leave the house as long as barricades around the house are cleared by night on Dec 14.
Details of the agreement haven’t been disclosed, and it isn’t clear whether it contains an avenue for the family to buy back the house, which they had owned for some 65 years until it was it was sold as a nonjudicial foreclosure in 2018.
Anti-eviction protesters were joined by Antifa and other far-left groups in rallying around the Kinney family and the home, dubbed the “Red House,” with the occupation involving fortified barricades, stockpiling of weapons, and posting armed guards.
Reporter Andy Ngo noted in a tweet that the activists occupying the zone have agreed to let the barricades be removed.
“The city of Portland has negotiated with the BLM-antifa at the autonomous zone and reached an agreement. The details of that deal aren’t known but antifa have now agreed to let the barricades come down,” he wrote.
“The area is absolutely trashed.”
Reporter Robert Evans posted a number of photos from the site, including a grafitti-covered building facade, and several before and after images showing a barricaded street and the area after “breakdown and cleanup,” with an apartment building left defaced and some debris scattered on the street.
Portland police earlier called for a peaceful resolution of the occupation, and expressed alarm at the escalation of tensions in the protest zone.
“We are greatly concerned about the fortification of barricades, stockpiling of weapons, armed sentries, attacks on journalists, and threats to kill officers in graffiti in this public space,” Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said in a Dec. 9 statement.
“Residents cannot move freely to and from their own homes,” the police said.
A community activist told news outlet KATU that some local groups tried to negotiate with those manning the barricades in the days ahead of the deal, which was reportedly struck on Dec. 12.
“We were quickly surrounded by about 12 to 16 armed security. And when I say armed, it’s not just open carry. It’s no longer open carry when you have the magazines in the wells,” said Gabriel Johnson, director of the Coalition to Save Portland.
“We find that we have these armed militias that want to come and squat and shut down neighborhoods,” he said. “We really just want to see that everyone has access to livability, public safety, and services in our city. As we’ve seen over the summer, that hasn’t always taken place.”
Police said authorities between September and November received at least 81 calls about the property, including reports of fights, shots fired, burglary, thefts, vandalism, noise violations, trespassing, and threats, as well as reports that occupiers illegally blocked traffic, sidewalks, and access to homes.
When police sought to disperse people from the property on Dec. 8, they said some individuals began throwing objects at police vehicles and officers, broke police vehicle windows, and flattened tires on two police cars.
The violence happened in broad daylight, and by evening, Mayor Ted Wheeler had sent out a statement saying he was authorizing the Portland police “to use all lawful means to end the illegal occupation.”
“It’s time for the encampment and occupation to end,” Wheeler said. “There are many ways to protest and work toward needed reform. Illegally occupying private property, openly carrying weapons, threatening and intimidating people are not among them.”
In a statement reported on by OregonLive, Wheeler said the city would help the Kinney family find temporary housing and assist them in finding legal counsel.
“I maintain measured optimism that we can accomplish this step and move toward the next steps to advance the safety and well-being of the family and the safety of the neighborhood,” Wheeler said in the statement, according to the outlet.