Help Needed at Jason Barns Landing Village, St. Johns

Elise Aymer

In light of what Tim McCormick posted about impending city sweeps, I'm reposting Mimi German's appeal for help at the Jason Barns Landing (JBL) Village (tarpee community) in St. Johns (Portland).

The recent announcements may not pertain directly to JBL but they are pretty much just waiting for the shoe to drop as they don't currently have any assurances from the Housing Bureau that they can stay on the premises until the planned construction there starts.

From Mimi:

"When we first set up, we were on Parks land. The Housing Bureau came out to tell us that this was their land. The goat people told us it was their land. The Housing Bureau told us they'd have us arrested for trespass if we stayed. We told them that folks are considered trespassing no matter what land houseless are living on. And we let them know that because there's nowhere to go, we aren't going anywhere. She explained the deal that the HB had struck w/ the city which was that they purchased the land from the City. We asked to see the contract because the land wasn't listed as HB land. Days later, the maps changed to HB land or some such thing. HB told us that they were going to put up the low-income or affordable housing units and that's when we told them that when that happens and the trucks are there and ready to dig, we'd move. Weeks later, the fence contractor came in to let us know, about the impending sweep and fence set-up.

So, yes. To your questions.
Are there any activist efforts to fight the eviction that we can help with? Letters? Calls? Petitions? Protests/other actions? Upcoming hearings about the site?
We are trying to contact as many groups as possible for eviction defense. I think it's important to get lists of folks ready to act/support as soon as a warning is posted and we don't when that will be. What I do know is that folks are not leaving the site because they are tired of being swept with nowhere to go.

Letters: It would be great to have details from the HB as to when those trucks are truly coming in so that if the folks at the site do want to leave, we can plan for that for a specified time. We'd also like letters to the HB telling them not to arrest us for trespass since there is no dig happening.

Yes and yes. Calls to the HB and calls to the County and City Council to allow us to stay at least until the dig and then once the dig occurs, creating a safe sweepless space for us on the cut or in St Johns, for us to carry on with our tarpee village.

Absolutely. We did tell the HB that if a fence was dropped, we'd have a recurrence of protest in support of our houseless friends, at the site. I reminded them of last years protests and our feelings about protecting houseless people from sweeps. We are putting together support for protests and need all the help we can get. Again, as soon as a trespass or eviction notice goes up, we begin.

We need $ for tarpee materials.  Also need carpet ends for folks for future tarpees and/or marmoleum for the floors.

We have a cashapp which is $JBLcommunity. [my emphasis]

Folks are doing ok on food. We do need lots of water.

Mostly, need folks to come by to see where it is so they can come when we need them there for support. You can get to the site via N. Macrum (off of Lombard) then one block to Oberlin. Oberlin dead-ends at the Cut. Walk into the trail and folks will see the tarpee village to the left. It's on the S. side of the Peninsula Crossing Trail aka The Cut.

We also need people who can help us build tarpees. Folks w/ some experience w/ carpentry is best. We do the builds in the Alameda area. Our build team is small and everyone has lives, so the builds take a long time. If we have more people who can put some time in, we can build these very quickly. We basically have these on templates now.

Could also use some therapists for folks, not social workers.  It's been a request.

TO ALL INTERESTED in lending a hand in some way or another, thank you so very much.

503-453-9005 [my emphasis]
Earlier Mimi wrote,"Call or text. Or email. Just a heads up...I dislike communicating by text at length. I prefer to speak on the phone."


Note: Tarpees are low-budget teepee structures covered in polyethylene tarp versus the traditional leather. Invented by Paul Cheoketen Wagner, of the Saanich First Nation of Vancouver Island (British Columbia, Canada), they were used to good effect during the Standing Rock protests . Mimi wrote in her earlier e-mail that JBL had help from a member of the Salish Nation (Washington State) in creating their tarpees. The Salish have also used tarpees as part of their land protection efforts.

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