As Portland Protests 4th Day, GoFundMe Raises $260K to Save 'Red House'

Organizers in Portland, Oregon, have raised $260,000 to defend the 'Red House on Mississippi,' a home previously owned by a Black and Indigenous family before their forced eviction in September.

Friday marks the fourth day of an intense standoff between law enforcement and protesters who have set up an around-the-clock eviction blockade in front of the house, equipped with makeshift barriers and onsite camping.

The demonstrators are fighting to take back ownership of the home that previously belonged to the Kinney family for 65 years.

"We refuse to let another eviction happen. Outraged at the treatment of this Afro-Indigenous family, the Portland community has united to save the Red House on Mississippi, rallying support around the family to reclaim the house and hold the land in a 24/7 eviction blockade," the organizers wrote on their GoFundMe page.

"Since September, support has grown for the Red House and today we maintain an around-the-clock community presence along with onsite camping, a fully functional kitchen offering two free hot meals a day, and free programming centered in healing and abolition. This is what it looks like for neighbors to truly take care of each other."

By Friday, the organizers had raised $10,000 more than their $250,000 fundraising goal – a feat that could allow the Kinneys to successfully repurchase their home and maintain their presence in the community.

"This money will be an essential bargaining tool to initiate negotiations with developer Roman Ozeruga and ensure the Kinney family can remain housed for generations to come," the protesters wrote.

Red House
Activists and the Kinney family speak to the press about the citys attempted eviction of residents from the Red House on Mississippi Ave on December 9, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. So far, organizers have raised $260,000 to fight the family's eviction. Nathan Howard/Getty

The story of the Kinneys' eviction involves what the protesters call "a real-time fight against gentrification." The Kinney family had lived in the Red House since the 1950's, when the neighborhood was primarily Black owned.

According to a website for the Red House, the home was foreclosed on in 2018. Though the Kinneys tried to fight this process, the house was auctioned off and sold to Roman Ozeruga of Urban Housing Development.

Following two years of legal battles, police forcibly removed the family from the home this September. The Kinneys have since filed a formal request to the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. A response is due from the court by December 23.

In the meantime, Multnomah County, where the house is located, issued a "writ of execution" to re-evict the family and protesters from still occupying the land. In response, the organizers said they are prepared to stand their ground.

"As winter arrives and temperatures dip below freezing, the community remains resolute in their support, initiating weatherizing projects for those who continue to live and sleep outside the Red House in anticipation of a second eviction, which could happen anytime in the next four months. History shows the next eviction may be more devastating than the first," they wrote.

Mayor Ted Wheeler expressed concern on Tuesday over the growing tension at the Red House, tweeting that he was "authorizing the Portland police to use all lawful means to end the illegal occupation on North Mississippi Avenue and to hold those violating our community's laws accountable".

"There will be no autonomous zone in Portland," he added.

I am authorizing the Portland Police to use all lawful means to end the illegal occupation on North Mississippi Avenue and to hold those violating our community’s laws accountable. There will be no autonomous zone in Portland.

— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) December 9, 2020
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In videos across social media, protesters can be seen clashing with police, yelling for them to leave the area, and kicking at their vehicles. According to a December 10 press release from the organizers, authorities had arrested and removed some protesters from the site.

But the groups fundraising and organization efforts may end in success for the Kinney family. On Thursday, Ozeruga said he was "overwhelmed by the attention to this," and offered to sell back the property to the family at cost,Oregon Live reported.

As of Friday, it is unclear whether or not that will happen.

Newsweek reached out the organizers of the Red House on Mississippi for additional comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.