By John Friend
The left-wing chaos and mayhem that has engulfed the city of Portland for months does not appear to be letting up any time soon. After months of violent protests and riots carried out by Antifa and other far-left militants, which has resulted in massive private and public property damage and financial loss, yet another protest movement has taken root, this time centered around “The Red House” in North Portland.
The Red House was owned by Julie and William Kinney Jr., a black and American Indian family, for over 20 years before it was foreclosed on. The family had failed to pay the mortgage for nearly a year-and-a-half. The Kinneys and their children have insisted they are sovereign citizens of the land and that the law does not apply to them. They further insist that local and state courts have no authority over them, their property, or their debts. Left-wing protesters and militants have sided with the Kinneys for several weeks now and created an autonomous zone designed to prevent the house from being seized. The family and its supporters say they are fighting systemic discrimination and racism, gentrification, and predatory subprime lending to minorities.
According to the “Save the Kinney Family Home” GoFundMe page, which has raised over $315,000 as AFP goes to press, the Kinneys were forcibly removed from their home in September. The family and its supporters have since re-occupied the house and refuse to leave.
“We refuse to let another eviction happen,” the GoFundMe page states. “Outraged at the treatment of this Afro-Indigenous family, the Portland community has united to save the Red House on [North] Mississippi [Avenue], rallying support around the family to reclaim the house and hold the land in a 24/7 eviction blockade. Since September, support has grown for the Red House and today we maintain an around-the-clock community presence along with onsite camping, a . . . kitchen offering two free hot meals a day, and free programming centered in healing and abolition.”
The occupation of the Red House and surrounding areas has impacted travel on city streets, hindering commerce and the free flow of vehicle and foot traffic. Barricades have been erected, tents have been set up, and trash and graffiti have defaced the surrounding area, which is one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Portland, while crime has predictably spiraled out of control.
According to The Oregonian, the family simply stopped making their mortgage payment in January 2017, and failed to accept or seek assistance from banking and state authorities. Instead, the family launched a public relations campaign declaring that the bank had no right to foreclose on their property due to their “indigenous” and “aboriginal” heritage and alleged connection to the land.
In 2002, the family took out a large loan secured by their house to help pay off the legal costs associated with the arrest of their son William Kinney III, who had been charged with manslaughter, reckless driving and felony hit and run after he killed an 83-year-old man. Kinney III ran a stop sign while speeding, smashing into the elderly man’s vehicle, killing him and seriously injuring his wife. The Kinneys’ failure to fulfill the loan’s obligations has resulted in the foreclosure of their property. Portland Police and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Deputies confronted the squatters and protesters at the Red House and the vicinity earlier this month, making multiple arrests. Officers encountered at least one individual in possession of a firearm, who was taken into custody, and several other firearms were discovered on the property.
Between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30, Portland Police received at least 81 calls for disturbances related to the occupation of the Red House. This included fights and other disturbances, noise complaints, shots fired, theft and burglary, threats, trespassing, and illegally blocking roads, sidewalks, and private property in the area.
According to the Post Millennial, virtually all individuals arrested by local authorities for criminal activities committed at the occupation of the Red House have had charges dropped by Portland’s left-wing district attorney.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced that his office, working with Portland Police, had reached a deal with the Kinneys and their supporters recently, paving the way for the barricades and other fencing blocking street access in the area to come down. According to reports, local authorities would not force the Kinneys to leave the house while negotiations were ongoing, but the street and surrounding area had to be cleared.
In a recent press release, supporters of the Kinneys announced that they “have no choice but to continue occupying the land for the Kinney family,” insisting that “the fight is not over.” The family’s case remains in litigation with a local developer, who is seeking to take possession of the property.
John Friend is a freelance writer based in California.