The Portland Solidarity Network (PDX Sol) has won our most recent campaign! Our friend Beth received a check for her deposit in the mail on Monday, August 13th, thereby fulfilling our campaign's demand in full! Brian Wannamaker, the owner and landlord of the 'Falcon Art Community' apartments where Beth briefly lived, sent the check along with a letter directly referencing the demand delivery action that took place on Monday, August 6th. His letter was postmarked only three days after that action, indicating that everyone who participated in the demand delivery directly contributed to Beth getting back her deposit!
At that action, thirty-four people helped Beth and PDX Sol deliver a letter at Brian's offices demanding that he return Beth's deposit in full. Although he was not in his office at the time, our presence in numbers sent a powerful statement to his secretary and neighbors. Before leaving, we read the contents of the demand letter on his voicemail, reiterating our demand and making it clear that if he failed to return the deposit, we would take further action. You can watch a video of the demand delivery here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cj2kqiDDr7o&feature=youtu.be
Congratulations to Beth - not just for the accomplishment of winning back her deposit, but also for having the courage to confront an exploitative landlord. And a very heartfelt thanks goes out to everyone who volunteered their time and energy by participating in the demand delivery. You have demonstrated the true meaning of Solidarity! Our success in this campaign is proof that even seemingly minor contributions - attending actions like a demand delivery - can have a extremely significant impact. We realize that Beth winning the return of her deposit is more than just a symbolic victory - it has a very real, concrete, material meaning for a fellow tenant. We hope that our success in this campaign inspires folks to continue to support their fellow workers and tenants in the community.
Although PDX Sol recognizes the significance of our achievement, we know it is imperative to build on the momentum leading into our next campaign. We encourage any interested individuals to participate in our next demand delivery and potential future actions. Additionally, we are always looking for new members - folks willing to attend organizing meetings and to help plan and carry out campaigns.
To celebrate our victory, we are having an informal celebration this Friday, August 24th at 7:30 pm at the Beulahland Coffee and Alehouse at 118 NE 28th Ave. Everyone's invited - especially the folks that helped Beth get back her deposit!
Beth's Campaign - Background
Back in March, Beth moved into an apartment in the Falcon Art Community. She quickly realized the apartment was making her extremely sick, and within a month of moving in, she had no choice but to move out. When Beth initially signed her one-year lease, she was told that if she had to move out before her lease expired due to extreme and/or extenuating circumstances, her deposit would be refunded. Beth figured that her apartment making her sick would qualify as an 'extreme circumstance'. However, when she asked for her deposit back, Brian and his representatives ignored her for a few weeks before finally telling her that they would not return her deposit. Beth initially heard about the Portland Solidarity Network from a co-worker, and when she saw one of our posters on a lamp-post, she gave us a call. We set up a meeting with her, and when she told us her story, we decided to take on her campaign. Together with Beth, we planned the demand delivery and the outlines of the rest of the campaign. As it turned out, we did not need to escalate much beyond the demand delivery - Brian sent the check for Beth's deposit a day before the deadline we set in the demand letter.