PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — An activist climbed down off the roof of a home on SE Hawthorne Blvd Thursday night after staging a day-long protest to stop construction crews from tearing it down.
The 26-year-old protester, who hasn’t disclosed his name, ignored police who asked him to come down throughout the day.
The property owner has decided not to press charges against him.
But despite his presence, construction crews started tearing down the porch in the afternoon. Eventually, they turned back and the protester remained on the roof for several hours.
The home at 3423 SE Hawthorne was built in 1909, according to property records.
According to online property records, the home will be destroyed so an apartment building can be built in its place. The permit, which is under review, is for a 5-story, 30 unit building with no parking spaces.
The house was sold earlier this year and has been empty for most of the summer. Squatters have been known to pass through the home, including Stephan Lebron who says he’s been living there for a month and doesn’t want it torn down.
“We don’t need just another condominium complex,” Lebron said. “It could be very easily utilized, I mean, Portland is all about gardening, we could turn this into a whole co-op.”
The man on the roof and surrounding protesters say they want a community center instead. Neighbors are against the project because they don’t think a new building would fit with the neighborhood.
Neighbor Roger Jones told KOIN 6 News they’ve been trying to communicate with the developer since May, but they’ve been unresponsive so far.
A manager at nearby Jambo World Crafts says the house has been a problem since squatters started taking over.
“We can’t continue to disrupt the community and try to make these people bad guys when they’re not,” Netty Haze said. “They’re doing their job and they’re doing what they have a right to do.”
Protesters started gathering at the home once the man climbed on top of the roof. When the porch started being demolished, the crowd became very upset. Portland Police said they arrested 3 people for disorderly conduct.
Robert Lee West, 50, was arrested on charges of second-degree disorderly conduct and interfering with a peace officer. Scotty Lee Atkins, 45, was arrested for second-degree disorderly conduct. Pedro Sanchez Jr., 53, was arrested on charges of second-degree disorderly conduct and interfering with a peace officer.
All 3 men were booked into Multnomah County Jail.
And in true Portland fashion, a goat was seen at the protest.