The organizing meeting of the Tenants Association at Bayside Village, Marginal Way, Portland happened earlier this evening with a huge crowd attending on the fourth floor of the building. Originally, it was a residence for USM, Portland, students.
The purpose of this first meeting was to develop strategies for the upcoming struggle to keep a roof over their heads.
Organizers of the meeting said they believed that the sale from Blue Atlantic Portland, LLC, to Tom Watson, president, of Port Properties, had not been completed and was still a work in progress. Watson specializes in acquisitions and mergers. Alisa Flores, one of two organizers, said that Watson claims that tenants don’t feel safe in the building and he wants to fix that problem.
However, Flores and others contest that claim, saying they feel safe and many of them want to stay there because there are so few housing options for low-income people. There are maintenance issues, like cockroach infestations, that aren’t taken care of, even though they are asked to do so. “We feel safe here and want to stay here,” said Flores.
Flores also told the crowd that if they are forced to leave their apartments, they should receive something for that. She’s right! It’s called “relocation” money and is common in many cities across the nation. It can include moving funds, deposit money, and expenses related to starting up utilities in new apartments, but not limited to those expenses.
Flores said she had contacted Pine Tree Legal and they are interested in representing the tenants when the sale to Port Properties is completed.
One of the numerous strategies discussed earlier this evening at the meeting is for tenants to show up at the City Council meeting on Monday and address the Council during the public comment time at 6:00 pm. One source familiar with the situation, said that Port Property manages a property and tells the owners what serious problems the property has and then purchases the property for a low price.
This blogger is a lifelong renter, not having an interest in purchasing. Many of those years, have been spent in Portland. After talking to many current and former tenants of Port Properties over the years, it is my information that Port Properties has a poor reputation as a landlord. The word “on the street” is: stay away from Port Properties if at all possible. The company does not treat its tenants well.
Late this afternoon, Flores attended the Housing Committee meeting, chaired by Jill Duson, because Bayside Village was on the agenda – last. Flores told Duson that she had to leave the Housing Committee well before 7:00 pm to attend a meeting there, but she had some thoughts she wanted to tell the Committee. Duson could have taken Flores out of order and allowed Flores to make her statement so she could leave on time for the meeting. It’s a common practice at city meetings. Instead, she allowed yadda yadda Councilor Ray to go on and on.
Duson did not do that. Flores was not given an opportunity to address the Committee on Bayside Village. Rather, it should have been a top item on the Committee agenda.