"Families living in the complex were scared, intimidated and forced to uproot. Families were forced to take their kids out of schools and leave a community we were all a part of. "
Chris and his wife were part of an entire apartment complex in Tigard that was served a 90-day notice that rent was going to more than double. The rent hike effectively removed everyone from the complex including the many immigrant families, people of color and persons with disabilities.
In July of 2016, the Tigard apartment complex we lived in for 8 years was bought by a California investor. Soon after, our new landlord served a 90-day notice to every tenant in our building that they were going to increase rent. For us, that meant our rent was going to more than double from $625 to $1300.
Over 90% of the residents in our complex were either immigrants, people of color, elderly or people with disabilities. The notice was devastating. No one could afford paying this. And, on top of it, the new landlord made tenants pay rent for the remaining days through a bank auto-deduction.
I know many families in the building didn’t have bank accounts, and this was just a plan by the owners to get rid of us all. But what could we do?
Families living in the complex were scared, intimidated and forced to uproot. Families were forced to take their kids out of schools and leave a community we were all a part of.
I grew up in Tigard and have walked the local streets a thousand times. I went to Tigard High School where I ran track and still hold the record for short and long relays.
We love this community, and what I see happening here is hard to take. Out-of-town
investors continue to buy housing throughout our communities. They leapfrog from one complex to another, evicting current tenants for higher rents with little or no improvements to the building. Behind them, these investors leave behind a damaged community.
The eviction has been especially tough for my wife Tanya and me. It has hurt our marriage. I wish there was something more I could do.
But it this is not our fault.
Out of this, I’ve became a strong tenant leader, and I’m determined to find solutions for our community. Through such organizations as the Community Alliance of Tenants, I’ve been able to help pass on information to community members and get them the help they need. I’m determined to keeping fighting to make this right.
We need a fair just cause policy that keeps families in their homes and keeps landlords from uprooting our communities. I’m a fixer, and I won’t stop until we find real solutions for the families of our communities.