Mississippi Avenue in Portland, Oregon, is being referred to by some as the “Portland autonomous zone” after a group of Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists and antifa members occupied the area on Tuesday. The backstory: in 2018, the Kinnley’s house was foreclosed. In February, the Multnomah County Circuit Court ordered the family to be evicted from their home after a long legal battle. In September, they were officially served the eviction notice. For months since then, protestors have been gathering at the location and camping out to prevent the family’s eviction. On Tuesday, Michael “Philo” Kinney, who currently lives at the foreclosed house, was detained by police and charged with trespassing. When he returned from the police station, protestors had gathered and pushed police officers back from the house, barricading multiple streets. It was reported that a group of 200 people “threw rocks and paint-filled balloons at officers, sprayed a fire extinguisher at them, smashed police car windows and flattened their tires.” Those in opposition to the court’s order say that the situation should fall under the current “eviction moratorium,” but the sheriff’s office argued that “the judgment was issued prior to state and federal emergency moratoriums.” The family has appealed the case to the Supreme Court.


    Many on the Left support the Kinney family and protestors. They say it is not simply about one family’s home, but rather a “fight against systemic racism and gentrification that’s been going on for years.” The New York Times’ Kirk Johnson wrote that the situation is reminiscent of “segregation and redlining from the 20th century, when Black families moved in for jobs and found that there were only certain places they could live.” However, some, including Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, argued that protestors’ actions are not the way to deal with the situation:

    “It’s time for the encampment and occupation to end. There are many ways to protest and work toward needed reform. Illegally occupying private property, openly carrying weapons, threatening and intimidating people are not among them.”

    Ted Wheeler, Mayor of Portland, Oregon

    However, a group of activists that started a website called The Red House on Mississippi stated, “We refuse to let another eviction happen. Outraged at the treatment of this Afro-Indigenous family, the Portland community has united to save the Red House on Mississippi, rallying support around the family to reclaim the house and hold the land in a 24/7 eviction blockade.”


    The Right opposes the autonomous zone. “We want a peaceful & safe resolution to the occupation of public space on N Mississippi Ave. We are greatly concerned about the fortification of barricades, stockpiling of weapons, armed sentries, attacks on journalists & threats to kill officers in graffiti in this public space,” stated Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell. Conservative political blog Hot Air noted that according to the sheriff’s office, “at least 81 calls for service were placed for issues related to this property and the immediate area” in the past three months. “Calls for service included, but were not limited to, fights, disturbances, shots fired, burglary, thefts, vandalism, noise violations, trespassing, threats, including by armed individuals, and for illegally blocking traffic, sidewalks and access to homes.” Reporter Andy Ngo wrote, “A resident outside the zone, who wanted to remain anonymous and has lived in the area for 48 years, said that activists had been stockpiling weapons and molotov cocktails in the Red House for weeks.”

    “Portland 2.0 is just as bad as #Portland 1.0. The spineless Mayor cannot control the ‘#Autonomous zone.’ And let’s stop calling them #protestors – they are criminals.”

    Leo Terrell, Civil Rights Attorney
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