Help Holgate Manor Tenants stay in our homes!

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On January 5, 2018, residents of Holgate Manor were surprised to find out that our homes had been sold. For decades, Holgate Manor was owned by the Newsom family, who believed in providing a safe haven for refugees, putting community first, and keeping rent affordable. A letter from the Newsom family included with the notice of sale stated the new owner, Fred Kleinbub, had good intentions, “to keep things as they are at Holgate Manor”.

Imagine our shock when we were given another letter on March 1, 2018, that stated our homes needed to be remodeled and this would cause many to receive large rent increase, along with potential displacement while renovations were completed. People could either choose to vacate our homes or face unknown alternatives such as no-cause evictions or large rent hikes. Those who voluntarily chose to move would receive a monetary sum equal to Portland’s relocation assistance but delivered on different terms and in exchange for signing away many legal rights. We do not want any of these options! We want to stay in our homes.

We are a diverse group of community members. Eight languages are spoken here, and this building has been a haven for immigrants. We have deep roots in this neighborhood. Some of us have lived here for decades, and many of us have children at nearby schools. This place is home to us. And because many of us are low-income, on fixed incomes, are elderly or face language barriers, there are few other places we can go.

We refuse to be forced out so our homes can be rented at a higher price for a profit. Especially because the former owners were committed to maintaining an affordable haven for tenants like us. Instead, we are calling on Princeton Property Management and Fred Kleinbub to meet our demands for safe and dignified housing, with long-term security against large rent increases or no-cause displacement. They need to meet with members of the Holgate Manor Tenants Union and Portland Tenants United, to communicate with us in our native languages, and to ensure that all tenants who have moved out temporarily can return with affordable rent. Our full list of demands is as follows:

  1. Agree to meet with the Holgate Manor Tenant Union and members of Portland Tenants United to negotiate sustainable ongoing terms of tenancy.
  2. Allow all displaced tenants to return to Holgate Manor without submitting new applications, and at rent that is affordable to them. Those of us who do choose to move for the renovations should be able to return to the same apartment without reapplication or rental increases. The managers already know we are good tenants, many of us have been living here for years. We shouldn’t have to re-apply to keep our homes!
  3. Do not issue any further notices of rent increases, new fees, or no-cause terminations until meeting with the Holgate Manor Tenants Union, or until we have fully explored other options.
  4. All further communication from the management must be professionally translated and provided in the tenants’ native languages of Khmer, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.
  5. Continue to maintain the property and perform repairs and maintenance as required by law. In particular, we need to get rid of vermin, pests, and mold. Our homes must be made habitable and healthy!

To ensure the housing security we need, we are asking the Portland Housing Bureau to use funds from the city’s $258 million housing bond to buy Holgate Manor and convert it into permanently affordable housing run democratically by the tenants who live here. We demand that Fred Kleinbub agree to sell our building to the Housing Bureau once it makes an offer.