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Foreclosure House Unoccupied

More than four months after the Occupy Housing and Foreclosure Action Committee (OH-FAC) moved into the foreclosed home on the corner of 12th and Lawrence, it’s being reoccupied by its owner. Occupiers say owner Karen Atkinson, who left the home two years ago, is in a sort of “legal limbo,” but she’s challenging the foreclosure.

OH-FAC member Vickie Embree says the committee will continue its education-centered work. “The state went from mostly non-judicial to mostly judicial foreclosures and it’s just totally changed the landscape,” she says. Unlike non-judicial foreclosures, judicial foreclosures are processed in the courts. Legislation passed in the spring guarantees mediation for Oregonians in non-judicial foreclosure, but Embree says that a significant shift to judicial foreclosures means fewer people are benefiting than expected. She says OH-FAC is also looking into helping people in foreclosure access legal help.

Before OH-FAC moved in, the committee says the yard and house, vacant since the foreclosure process began, had been used as a dumping ground and grounds for taking dumps. “We picked it up, and we came back three weeks later, and it was a mess again,” Embree says. “That’s when we decided, well, we can’t just clean it up and leave it — we need to stay here.” The Occupiers cleaned the yard, painted the fence and helped keep the rhododendrons in the front yard alive for the summer. They also hosted an event during a September ArtWalk.

For foreclosure help, check out OH-FAC’s support group, which meets at 5 pm every Wednesday in the Growers Market, 454 Willamette St., or write to oebankbusters@gmail.com