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Building Occupied in Santa Cruz! Riot Cops held off!

The formerly vacant building at 75 River St. is being repurposed by an autonomous group, in solidarity with Occupy Santa Cruz. Formerly a big bank, it was bought out by Wells Fargo. Subsequently, the building closed, and has remained vacant for nearly three years. Today this group has, without breaking & entering, taken the building with intentions of using the space in a productive way that benefits the community of Santa Cruz . The property will no longer be left open by big development companies as a sign of the economic despair in this county, but will rather be used to enrich and teach the local community.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

The Repurposing of 75 River St.

Santa Cruz, CA, U.S.A.- November 30, 2011.

The formerly vacant building at 75 River St. is being repurposed by an autonomous group, in solidarity with Occupy Santa Cruz. Formerly a big bank, it was bought out by Wells Fargo. Subsequently, the building closed, and has remained vacant for nearly three years. Today this group has, without breaking & entering, taken the building with intentions of using the space in a productive way that benefits the community of Santa Cruz . The property will no longer be left open by big development companies as a sign of the economic despair in this county, but will rather be used to enrich and teach the local community.

While the middle class quickly falls toward the poverty line, the big banks and the extremely wealthy continue to get rich at the expense of all. Across the United States 1.05 million properties were seized by banks in the year 2010. In Santa Cruz County alone 1,594 homes were auctioned off between November 2010 and October 2011. The foreclosed and vacant buildings in this country serve as a reminder of the ever-growing gap between the 'rich' and the 'poor'. As people are left without shelter and social space due to foreclosures and a declining economy; big banks and developing companies buy out space to simply leave empty.

An existing time-honored U.S. and California law allows for the transfer of a property title when a property is occupied and taken care of by an alternative party for an extended period of time. This law is called adverse possession. The law was born out of the belief that society's best interests are met when land and property are utilized productively rather than sitting vacant. Today, the building at 75 River St. has been adversely possessed. No longer will the property exist only as an empty parking lot and a vacant building with a sign re-directing people to Wells Fargo across the street. It will be repurposed and used to benefit the community instead of Cassidy Turley, the large-scale commercial real estate company currently leasing the building, and Wells Fargo bank.

Instead of an empty space, there will be a space for community teach-ins, an open library, and discussion forums. The space will be offered to Occupy Santa Cruz as an opportunity to have a roof over its head and allow for more organization to take place. The space will be safe, non-violent, non-destructive and welcoming. The building will be a forum for individuals in the community to learn from one another, and help the Occupy movement grow.

There is a hope to see community support for the reclamation of property and space from the very wealthy, the 1%, back into the hands and benefit of the community.

This action was not decided on by the General Assembly of Occupy Santa Cruz. This press release is not from the Occupy Santa Cruz media team.


Photos:
 http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/12/01/18701427.php
 http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/12/01/18701406.php

Better check it out (adverse possession) 02.Dec.2011 04:27

Mike Novack

I'm not sure you have this right and best not get folks hopes up.

Since I'm in a different state I don't know the details for Oregon but there is generally a specified period of time allowed for the owners of a property to "appear" and complain to a court. This period of time is what would different state to state but is almost always a fairly large number of YEARS, say seven.

That makes obtaining a property by adverse possession tricky. The other owners of the property aren't required to respond immediately. Or at least best to check this detail out in Oregon court rulings whether not acting speedily would count against them in the eventual "adverse possession proceedings" (*). In states where they are allowed to sit back and wait till a year or two before the end of the time period without penalty that is a strategy sometimes followed.

* That's when you appear in court at the end of the time period and claim you have occupied adversely (without permission) and the owners should have known since your occupation was open and notorious (a secret occupation does not gain adverse possession) and ignored it. If you win, you get title. If you lose, nothing. Again check Oregon precedent because in many places they don't have to succeed in getting you out, just have begun actions to do so.

Re: Better check it out (adverse possession) 02.Dec.2011 08:59

..

The article clearly states: "An existing time-honored U.S. and California law allows for the transfer of a property title when a property is occupied and taken care of by an alternative party for an extended period of time."

You write, "I'm not sure you have this right . . ." The occupiers do have the right to adversely possess the vacant building. And the legal owners have the right (under California law) to contest it.

To many of us, this is all beside the point. The law is created by those with wealth and power. We don't believe in absentee ownership of land or buildings. We don't believe in the institution of rent. What better way to demonstrate those beliefs than to put them into practice? No one is being harmed. An unused building is being liberated from the capitalist-statist system. We are creating a usership society to replace the obscene ownership society that exists today. The bank occupiers will certainly be crushed by statist goons. But it is still a brief ray of light in a dark and ignorant world.

Of course 02.Dec.2011 12:45

Mike Novack

beside the point if you aren't trying an "adverse possession" action. But since that is what the people doing this SAID they were doing my comment was directed to that.

It's a specialized sort of action and calls for legal (and possibly real estate) expertise. Make sure this is not a "white elephant"

Thanks Mike 03.Dec.2011 06:04

fan

Thanks for your insights regarding California law vs. Oregon law; since this is being (re)posted on the portland imc site, this is really relevant info for folks in Oregon to consider.