February 10, 2005
Residents Remain Committed to Preserving Community Greenspace Despite Adverse Court Ruling
Contact: Brenna Bell (503) 245-0484, cell 473-3637
Residents of Tryon Life Community farm were just advised that Multnomah County Circuit Judge Hannon chose to overlook procedural and substantive objections and order the residents evicted. TLC Farm is rapidly becoming one of the city's most widely supported centers for environmental education and sustainability demonstration, and has assembled financial backing to purchase the land.
However Karl Marlantes, the landowner, has said he needs to evict the residents to make it easier to turn the land into a housing development. Currently, Brownstone Homes owns an option to purchase the land, and intends to build 23 oversized homes on the 7 acres.
"We are now at a crossroads: do we abandon the farm and project to the developers' bulldozers, or do we continue to work diligently to keep this land as a resource for the whole city, a taste of a more sustainable future?" said farm resident Jenny Leis. "While we have no desire to antagonize the landowner, we simply cannot let down all the people who have invested so much time, energy and love into this land."
Residents of the Farm are planning to appeal the eviction, and ask the court to stay its order until the case is decided. Attorney for the residents, Tim Murphy, stated, "In contravention to the Oregon Residential Landlord Tenant Act, which is supposed to be strictly construed, the Court's written opinion ignores facts in favor of The Farm's tenants and gives substantial deference to facts in favor of the landlord. This is exactly the opposite of how the Court should act and the opinion represents judicial activism of the worst type."
Regardless of the outcome of the eviction, it is far from certain that the development can go forward. "Not only does such a development face vocal public opposition," noted resident Brenna Bell, "the developer has yet to file an application with the City, and seems to be having second thoughts." Three weeks ago, Randy Myers, President of Brownstone, approached TLC Farm to discuss selling his option.
Mr. Myers said that to make a deal, he needed to be reimbursed for all of his costs. "So we went and did the impossible," said Bell. "We raised over $100,000 in two weeks, and returned to Mr. Myers with an offer that covered all of his costs. But Mr. Myers said that it was 'too little, too late.' We really hope he's operating in good faith and wasn't just playing us along."
The proposed housing development is opposed by the Arnold Creek Neighborhood Association and the Friends of Tryon Creek State Park.
Residents of the Farm remain committed to their plans to purchase the land and share it as community greenspace and an education center. Resident Lee Cowan observed, "I have watched children and adults leave the Farm so inspired after visiting and working in the garden or on the cob sauna. Even though this time has been difficult, I can't abandon this place, which brings so many people so much joy."