Alleged squatters leave home then bolt from questions
PORTLAND, Ore. - For the past nine months a group of people has taken over the home of a 66-year-old school teacher and Portland police say they're part of a radical arm of the Occupy Movement.
The house is in the 6100 block of North Mississippi.
Last August the homeowner, Gloria Johnson, got a letter from her bank saying she had three months to get out, but that letter was bogus and she now wonders if the people living in her home were the ones who sent it.
"It (the letter) said they were selling the property, and I had three months to evacuate," Johnson said.
Johnson moved out immediately and a few months later she discovered the bank didn't send that letter but there were already new people living in her house.
Police went to the home Thursday morning to serve a warrant. Within an hour the first of three people who were living in the home, rent free, came out.
"It was like they planned this," said Johnson. "They just sat down and methodically planned how they were going to take advantage of someone else."
Two men who came out of the house denied to a reporter they sent the bank letter.
One woman said she had been living in the house for four months and also denied she knew anything about the letter.
Police said inside that home they found anarchist materials, literature on how to pick a lock and addresses of other vacant homes.
Officers at Thursday's scene said they recognized the people as serial squatters who have been targeting homes across Portland.
Inside Johnson's home, police said they found evidence that the group is keeping its eyes on other homes, noting when lights are off and when people are home and when they are gone. The alleged serial squatters didn't want to talk about that either.
Johnson said she came back to her home months ago and another man who was squatting here told her the bank did take the house and that they were living here and making repairs for a property management company.
According to Bank of America, it never mailed an eviction letter, and KATU News found property records showing the home is still in Gloria Johnson's name.
KATU News reporter Meghan Kalkstein contributed to this report.