Protesters fighting evictions rally at county headquarters

Protesters fighting evictions rally at county headquarters
Protesters gather at a county office in Southeast Portland on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 to rally against foreclosures and evictions that they feel are unfair. KATU photo.

PORTLAND, Ore. - Protesters filled the lobby of the Multnomah County headquarters on Friday to rally against foreclosure evictions.

Folks first gathered outside the building, located at 501 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., with signs and then moved inside where they chanted, sang songs and called on the sheriff's office to stop evicting people.

Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton knew the protest was coming and decided to close his office for the day. But that did not deter protesters, who spent about 20 minutes inside the county building to get their point across. Their argument is that the sheriff's office should not be supporting big banks by spending tax dollars on evicting foreclosed homeowners.

It's an issue that has been heating up lately.

On Oct. 30, Multnomah County sheriff's deputies and Portland police officers showed up at a home in the 12000 block of Southeast Pardee Street to evict a couple. Protesters were there to fight the eviction and a bit of a skirmish broke out. Police ended up using pepper spray to try to diffuse the situation.

The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office said while they understand that emotions can run high during a foreclosure and eviction process, they have the responsibility and duty to uphold the law and process lawful eviction orders. The sheriff's office issued the following statement on Friday:

"The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office has met with several different groups and individuals with concerns regarding the foreclosure process over the past several months. The Sheriff's Office Civil Unit has given presentations to some of these groups regarding the foreclosure process, what steps are involved and how the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office ensures court orders issued by the Judge are valid and all of the associated paperwork is in order prior to executing an eviction order. In addition, at the time eviction orders signed by the judge are administered, MCSO Civil Deputies have community resource information available for the residents affected. This information is available upon request in order to assist them with finding new or alternate housing."

"The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office strives to ensure all evictions are completed as considerately and respectfully as possible. Sheriff Staton will continue to work with the community and the courts to alleviate some of the pressure in this area. As part of his efforts he is striving to engage the Board of County Commissioners to become an active partner with him in finding a resolution to this."

"The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office will make every effort to protect the community and continue to uphold the laws in place. Sheriff Staton understands and is sympathetic to the plight they have identified and is already conversing with the courts and will continue to do so in regards to this topic.