“You can get evicted from this building for putting flyers under peoples’ doors,” Alyssa Floyd was told this morning by building manager, Brad, on behalf of the owner. Floyd wanted to inform tenants of Bayside Village of the city council meeting today and encourage them to attend to learn more of the crises before them.
She cited other examples of harassment by the manager that clearly were a warning to her to stop organizing and speaking out against Port Properties. It’s common for property owners to try to construct a file of “issues” against tenant/leaders to intimidate them into stopping their organizing.- it’s the work of a coward and a bully.
This disclosure followed almost an hour of testimony from low-income residents and their allies before a city council who remained stoic and unmoved as they testified of the homelessness that would occur if the sale goes forward. Lado Lodoku, a resident of Bayside Village, said these units will be turned into expensive units – too expensive for people who work in Portland to make the city better. “You have the moral duty to make this place liveable for workers in Portland.” Testifiers wanted a reversal of the approval given by the city’s planning board recently for the renovation of Bayside Village into upscale rental units.
Perhaps councilors remained stoic and unmoved because four of the city councilors at tonight’s meeting have received campaign funding from Tom Watson, president of Port Properties. They include: Kim Cook, Jill Duson, Spencer Thibodeau and Belinda Ray. Duson recently said they were friends. Yet, Port Properties has a long-standing miserable reputation in Portland as to how it treats tenants. The message from renter to renter is: Stay away from Port Properties and don’t rent from it, if possible.
Even more shameful is that the callous Jill Duson who officiated tonight, is chairman of the Housing Committee – or “anti-housing committee” as George Reault, a community activist referred to the Committee this evening. When Duson was asked several times to kindly use the microphone because she could not be heard, she responded: “It’s not that I don’t want to be heard.”
Equally disturbing was that Mayor Ethan Strimling likewise had no comment on the Bayside Village crisis. It is election season, Mayor, but he’s not proven himself to be pro-tenant in the past because he isn’t. A survey he distributed some months ago, listed five issues that Portland voters could express their views on. Renters issues was not one listed on the survey.
Many years too late, the city has established a Rental Housing Advisory Board. Although members have been selected, it still has not met. Years ago, this blogger asked then Mayor George Campbell about the possibility of having a similar city board. “The problem is that women like you who have nothing want everything,” Campbell responded to this renter.
Prior to the city council meeting, a press conference was called by the Portland Housing Coalition, a recently formed non-profit. The group supports residents Bayside Village tenants. Kate Sykes, a founding member said: “Developers are cast as the heroes and saviors in affordable housing. They are the problem when we rely on LIHTC, to solve the problem, we create one of the most inefficient options for building housing. We need public housing and we need to be looking at housing as a human right, not as a commodity. Jess Falero, the founder of the Coalition was homeless for four years. “Portland falls very short in providing housing for those who need.it.”
It’s clear that the city council has no interest in protecting the rights of renters in the city where they have no rights or protections to protect. VOTE ALL THE BUMS OUT!!
Please see previous post herein dated September 11, 2019 on the same subject.