"We've weathered our lives' ups and downs in our home," said Austin, who, along with her husband Ron, raised two kids at 4207 NE 77th Avenue. "Ours is not just a house in some community. It's our home. We belong here and we're not leaving. We're drawing the line." Austin says she would rather be arrested than evicted from her home, which went into foreclosure last March. Her family fell behind on mortgage payments last year after both she and Ron were diagnosed with cancer and their medical bills piled up.
Nonprofit We Are Oregon is seeking "community solutions" to the national foreclosure crisis, and its current plan (in addition to singing foreclosure Christmas carols at the county headquarters this afternoon, asking them to not use county sheriff officers to evicted foreclosed homeowners) is supporting people like Austin who want to stay in their homes, no matter what. We Are Oregon is involved in a national campaign that's asking local governments to halt all foreclosure evictions until stricter foreclosure oversight regulations are passed. Bank of America briefly halted foreclosures last year, after it was implicated in the "robo-signing" scandal.
Along with We Are Oregon supporters and members of Unsettle Portland, several of Austin's long-time neighbors joined her this morning for her chilly front lawn press conference. "Banks have wonderful mottos: 'We're part of your community,'" said retired Catholic priest and Roseway resident Father Jack Mosbrucker. "If they really wanted to do that, they would put their brightest people on how to [stop] these foreclosures."