Portland police officer helping man facing eviction
Harold Jackson didn't know where to turn after getting word that he was going to be evicted from his southeast Portland apartment.
"I was at the verge of actually wanting to end it," said Jackson.
Jackson was suicidal when police and counselors responded to his home at the Keystone East apartments last week. Officer Stuart Palmiter was one of those responding officers.
"He was distraught and possibly suicidal about being evicted from his house," said Palmiter.
Jackson has lived at Keystone East for seven years but was notified of his impending eviction when he recently missed a month's rent. Jackson lost his longtime job in January and recently found new employment. Now, able to pay his rent, plus any fees, Jackson hoped to get paid up so he could remain in his apartment, but he was rejected by the property's management group.
"I called the property manager and spoke with her and she basically told me, we want our unit back," Jackson said.
Officer Palmiter believes Keystone East's new management group, C&R Real Estate Services, wants Jackson out so it can raise the rent with a new tenant.
"It's greed, basically, as far as I'm concerned that's driving this thing. And again, it's unconscionable. Yes, everybody needs to make money, but really? You're going to make somebody homeless," Palmiter said.
After responding to Jackson's distress call, Officer Palmiter decided to step in, knowing Jackson was still facing homelessness. Last Thursday Palmiter took Jackson to the Multnomah County Courthouse to work out a temporary stay of his eviction.
"I’ll be damned if I’m going to stand by and watch somebody be wronged if I can intervene and keep that from happening," said Palmiter.
"It was a big relief to see that somebody cared. That somebody was going to help me," Jackson said.
But Officer Palmiter wasn't done there. He spoke with Keystone East and C&R Real Estate Services on Jackson's behalf and feels that Jackson didn't have his options properly explained to him before signing some preliminary eviction paperwork.
"This doesn't fit; there's a disconnection here; there's something wrong with this picture, and it's a big something wrong," Palmiter said.
Officer Palmiter is now hoping to find an attorney to represent Jackson in court, and he's also hoping to be a witness on Jackson's behalf to help fight his eviction. He's also considering a bar complaint regarding the paperwork that was filed in Jackson's case.
"When you make an agreement with somebody, they understand what they're agreeing to and that didn't happen and it should have, and I can only imagine how many other people it hasn't happened with," Palmiter said.
Palmiter will be back in court with Jackson on Monday and will serve as a witness if needed, but he's also hoping to connect Jackson with an attorney who will represent him. As for Jackson, the future remains uncertain, but he has new hope thanks to a police officer who's going beyond the call of duty.
"Oh my goodness, it’s a blessing. It’s an absolute blessing after going through everything that I’ve gone through, to have someone," Jackson said.
KATU reached out to Keystone East's property management group, C&R Real Estate Services, and their attorney for comment, but those calls were not returned.
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