Tenant in North Portland Sues Housing Nonprofit, Alleging Drafty Building Had Rodents and Camping in Hallways

It’s the second lawsuit filed against the city’s largest affordable housing developer that alleges poor conditions in low-income buildings.

On Friday, a senior tenant living at a North Portland affordable housing building sued the property owner for alleged poor conditions inside and outside the building—including overflowing trash receptacles that attracted rodents and pests, inadequate weatherproofing that allowed in rain and heat, and criminal activity and squatting in hallways by nonresidents who got inside.

Reach Community Development Corporation owns McCuller Crossing, where the plaintiff Delores Taylor lives, as well as 35 other affordable housing buildings in the Portland metro area, making it the city’s largest affordable housing developer.

The lawsuit filed today by the law firm OlsenDaines requests a trial by jury. For the past year, it alleges, “the premises at the McCuller Crossing Apartments substantially lacked operable and effective door locks, resulting in criminal activity including harassment, ‘camping’ in common areas by non-tenants, and incidents of non-tenants littering and looting common areas.”

Lauren Schmidt, a spokeswoman for Reach CDC, said on Friday, “We have not seen what was filed and will need to review.”

This is the second lawsuit filed against Reach CDC this spring by disgruntled tenants at low-income apartment buildings.

A group of tenants at the Allen Fremont Plaza in Northeast Portland filed a cluster of lawsuits in June that echo many of the allegations listed in today’s lawsuit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

The five lawsuits filed in June allege egregious conditions inside the building, including bug and pest infestations, wanton criminal activity in hallways by nonresidents due to lack of security, and inadequate bathroom availability that forced residents to defecate and urinate on themselves. (Reach said in a statement at the time that it had rectified the issues and was responsive to resident concerns.)

Plaintiff Gary Bailey, 68, has lived at the Allen Fremont Plaza for five years. He says inadequate bathrooms in the building have forced him to defecate in the parking lot twice and once on himself. He says an inoperable elevator for a time forced disabled residents to crawl up and down stairs. “You can see drug activity happening in and outside of the building,” he adds.