Protesters armed with paintball guns who blocked a stretch of road in Portland after authorities planned to force out a mixed race family who lost the
Protesters armed with paintball guns who blocked a stretch of road in Portland after authorities planned to force out a mixed race family who lost their property to foreclosure have now allowed traffic to pass as part of a deal with the city.
There were growing signs that the six-day, three-block long ‘occupation’ of the Red House in Portland was coming to an end even as it was learned that the Kinney family, who had owned the property for more than 60 years, had not paid their mortgage in years.
The family claimed in court that they were no longer bound by the terms of the loan because they were of ‘indigenous’ and ‘aboriginal’ heritage and thus could not be compelled to pay by a bank, according to OregonLive.
The Kinney family is said to be part of the so-called ‘sovereign citizen movement,’ a group of extremists who claim to be exempt from the nation’s laws.
City activists have sought to fight the attempted eviction of the ‘Red House on Mississippi’ in Portland by staging a weeklong ‘occupation’ of a three-block area around the home
The Kinney family lived at the ‘Red House’ in Portland at the center of ongoing protests
In recent years, several members of the ‘sovereign citizenship movement’ have been arrested after breaking into other people’s homes and claiming ownership of the property, citing fictitious legal claims.
The Red House saga drew the attention of hundreds of activists who erected barricades along North Mississippi Avenue and blocked traffic for almost a week.
The ‘occupation’ was in response to failed attempts by Portland authorities to forcibly evict the Kinney family from the home, which was lost to foreclosure.
Portland police and sheriff’s deputies from Multnomah County arrived at the ‘Red House on Mississippi’ on December 8 to ‘re-secure’ it for the new owner, a property developer, by removing the Kinney family.
The house was initially foreclosed upon in 2018 after a long legal fight by the Kinneys. When police attempted to evict the family last week, they were met by hundreds of protesters
The family roused the support of hundreds of demonstrators who claimed that the Kinneys were being evicted as a result of gentrification, redlining, and systemic racism.
KOIN 6 News reports that around 300 people were barricaded within the property on Friday, stocked with weapons to defend themselves from the police and counter-protesters.
‘A lot of the security you will see inside the zone is people with long arms, 9MM military Glocks and what-not along with stashes on the ground, either rocks, bottles, things to throw at the police, you know, if they decide to come in,’ said Gabe Johnson, director of the Coalition to Save Portland.
‘You have untrained people with a cache of guns, a lot of guns,’ Johnson continued. ‘At any point a weapon could go off.’
But the Kinneys lost their home due to financial reasons. In January 2017, they stopped paying their mortgage after not missing a payment over the course of the previous 13 years.
The family took out a $96,300 mortgage against the home in May 2002, when Julie Metcalf Kinney and her husband, William Kinney Jr, needed money to pay the legal costs for their son William Kinney II, who also goes by the name Nietzche.
The son, who was 17 years old at the time, was facing charges of manslaughter, reckless driving, and felony hit and run after he ran a stop sign while speeding and slammed into another vehicle, killing an 83-year-old man and seriously injuring his wife.
William II ended up pleading guilty to related charges. He told OregonLive that his legal fees amounted to $26,000, but the family borrowed more than that.
The loan they took was also quite expensive as the interest rate – 8.25 per cent – was well above the 6.8 per cent average for 30-year fixed rate loans that were the norm at the time.
In 2004, the Kinneys refinanced with another subprime lender that charged a 7.74 per cent interest rate, two points higher than the average 30-year fixed rate loan at the time.
Mayor Ted Wheeler, who threatened to use ‘alternatives’ to break up the ‘armed occupation,’ announced a tentative agreement between the developer who bought the home at auction and the family
The family kept making their monthly payments until late 2016, when they received a notice that their loan was transferred to another creditor.
The Kinneys said they were confused since they were told to make their mortgage payments to another collector, a common practice in the lending industry.
From that point on, the family stopped paying altogether.
As the date of foreclosure neared, William II sent a bizarre letter to the lender signed by his mother, ‘Julie Anne, house of Metcalf Kinney, Sovereign living soul, holder of the office of “the people”.’
The letter stated that Julie was ‘a declared living American sovereign standing with Treaty Law of God’ and that the lender had no jurisdiction ‘without an international treaty within My republic state’ and that the company was not chartered to do business in Oregon ‘by My republic state.’
After protesters clashed with police who were looking to repossess the home from the Kinneys, the developer who bought the property at auction offered to sell it back to the family for the amount that he paid – $260,000, plus legal and administrative costs.
Roman Ozeruga, 33, said he was looking for a swift end to the crisis.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler this week announced a ‘tentative’ agreement in which the family and the developer, through intermediaries, agreed on a sale.
The mayor’s announcement came as guards removed barricades from the area and allowed traffic to once again flow.
The protesters have stood guard of the house since December 8, when officers attempted to remove the Kinney family from the home
Protesters have accused the city of gentrification and racism in evicting the Kinneys