Housing activists prepping for months for foreclosure defense efforts at houses across Portland are facing their first major test this afternoon after Multnomah County sheriff's deputies and Portland cops showed up to enforce an eviction at a Southeast Portland home—and reportedly brought along pepper spray and riot gear.
The home on SE Pardee is owned by Patricia Williams and Darren Johnson who moved back into their home while fighting a foreclosure in court. Activists say the eviction order came even though that legal fight is under way. Here's their story.
Activists are sounding the alarm and asking for reinforcements while the house is being boarded up. Follow a live blog here or at #homedefense on Twitter. Meanwhile, pictures posted on Twitter show several cops and deputies on scene with their fingers on the triggers of what look like beanbag guns. One officer reportedly used pepper spray on protesters according to witnesses—though I haven't confirmed that yet. Some reports say the officer leading the action is Captain Mark Kruger, the Portland cop famously fond of Nazi memorabilia.
Update 6:30 PM: Protester Ahjamu Umi posted an update on Facebook. He said the pepper spraying came after some of the 50 protesters who formed a roving picket line in front of the house tried to force their way inside. One person was arrested, he says. Afterward, and as more deputies and cops showed up, the protesters decided they didn't have the numbers to keep fighting.
"Several of us were hit," he writes, "but everyone will be okay."