A 72-unit apartment building in North Portland has begun issuing renters "no cause" notices—the latest case of mass evictions affecting large numbers of public-school students.
In all, 59 children enrolled in Portland Public Schools live in Titan Manor, which sold in October to an out-of-state owner for $8.3 million. Of the 59 students who live at the building, 27 attend the local elementary school, James John, though not all residents have received no-cause notices yet.
"I'm scrambling," says Debra Lira, 53, who has lived in the St. Johns for six years, sharing a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate. The two of them pay $850 a month for a two-bedroom. "It's very, very stressful, let me tell you."
It's the latest building to issue evictions affecting kids, even as advocates push for greater protections for tenants facing "no cause" evictions and rent increases. The Oregon Legislature is poised to debate several bills next month to restrict evictions and rent increases.
The impacts of the no-cause evictions from Titan Manor are likely to be similar to the Normandy Apartments, the Northeast Portland complex where tenants are facing a 100-percent rent increase. More than 5 percent of the student body at Rigler Elementary lives at the Normandy.
Similarly, more than 6 percent of the students at James John school live at Titan Manor, according to data provided by Portland Public Schools. (Another seven students attend George Middle School, 13 students attend Cesar Chavez K-8 and 12 students attend Roosevelt High School.)
"There's a lot of families," says Lira, estimating that before the first round of 90-day notices came out in December, a couple dozen kids would get off the school bus at the end of the day.
The Community Alliance of Tenants has been entangled with the building for years because of housing code violations. At the moment, there are 13 open housing code violations, according to the city.
The management company, Avenue5 Residential, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
"This highlights the problem we're facing," says Katrina Holland at CAT. No-cause evictions, she adds, "tear lives apart."