Patricia reclaims her home

IN THE early afternoon on October 6, some 35 neighbors and activists, including members of We Are Oregon, Occupy Northeast and the Black Working Group (BWG), gathered in Portland, Ore., to support Patricia Daniels as she took back her home from predatory banks that are attempting to foreclose on her.

The action marked the third public foreclosure resistance demonstration by the BWG in Northeast Portland since May. In all, some nine Portland homeowners have publicly declared their refusal to be evicted due to foreclosure. As of this writing, all remain in their houses.

A small press conference was held on Patricia's front lawn as a banner was dropped from the house reading "We Will Not Be Moved." After thanking people for their support, Patricia told the crowd, "I want to stand up and say it's wrong and it's not fair--and I'm moving back."

Ahjamu Umi, chair of the BWG, announced the group's intent to multiply such actions, calling for no evictions and no empty houses.

Daniels' home had been paid off, but she was forced to take out a loan from Bank of America to make much-needed repairs, like replacing the house's roof. Bank of America has since sold her mortgage to another bank, which is now forcing her to make impossible balloon payments.

After verbally promising her a fixed-rate mortgage, the bank refused to refinance, forcing Daniels through endless bureaucratic hoops, before finally sending her a foreclosure notice.

Daniels has longstanding roots in the community. She grew up in the home, which was purchased by her single mother in 1970. Today, she is the executive director of Constructing Hope, a small nonprofit group that helps people who have been incarcerated find careers in the building trades.

Over the years, Daniels' neighborhood has been forced to change as gentrification and foreclosures have intensified. As one neighbor explained, "This is one of the only blocks that still has multi-generational Black families, and we don't want to lose one more family."

Daniels was inspired to reoccupy her vacant house after seeing several other families in the neighborhood refuse to move when issued foreclosure notices. When asked why she decided to stay, she said, "I'm angry! I can make the payment and someone's trying to take my home. I'm not going to let them do it."