On October 15, 2018, the Direct Action Working Group (DAWG) of the San Diego DSA, a local chapter of Democratic Socialists of America, conducted an action of protest at the Timken Museum of Art in solidarity with Portland DSA and the Holgate Manor Tenant Union.
We conducted the action to bring the public’s attention and scrutiny to the damage Fred Kleinbub, treasurer of the Timken Museum, has wrought at Holgate Manor, an 81-unit apartment complex in Portland, Oregon.
For decades, Holgate has been the home of immigrants and refugees hailing from regions that have experienced war and terror in recent years such as Ukraine, Russia, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam. In January 2018, Kleinbub purchased Holgate Manor for $12 million. As related by the Holgate Manor Tenants Union, Princeton Property Management, Mr. Kleinbub’s company that manages over 170 properties including Holgate, has employed duplicitous and aggressive methods to remove Holgate tenants. These tactics have included:
Raising rents of disabled, elderly folks by as much as 100% ($900/month to $1800/month) over the course of a few months.
Making cosmetic “renovations” while actively ignoring deleterious problems that plague the manor like rats, cockroaches and black mold.
Hiring a private security firm shortly after tenants went on rent strike in a likely bid to intimidate noncompliant residents.
Retaliating against striking tenants by using forced eviction
Instead of demonstrating base-level compassion for people living on the margins of society, Mr. Kleinbub spent thousands on a PR firm to make claims for him that Holgate’s new management would be making improvements that are “designed to provide safe, comfortable homes at affordable rates.” One tenant who returned to their home after these “improvements” found energy efficient windows, but also black mold and a rent that had increased by $340/month. With his network of hired property managers and PR consultants, Mr. Kleinbub has demonstrated that his interest in Portland is rooted in in the value of its property and the wealth he can extract from its residents. The tenants of Holgate Manor value Portland as a refuge, a community, a place of work, and a home.
We call on Timken treasurer Fred Kleinbub to meet with the Holgate Manor Tenant Union and engage with their reasonable demands:
1. Allow displaced tenants who wish to return to Holgate Manor to do so without submitting new applications, and at a rent that is affordable to them.
2. Retract the 9.9% rent increases until after the construction is complete, including a rent refund for the months construction was taking place, and commit to no new rent increases until negotiating with representatives from the Holgate Manor Tenants Union and Portland Tenants United.
3. No new fees or no-cause terminations to be issued until after negotiations. No 72-hour eviction notices or retaliation against striking tenants.
4. All communication from management should be professionally translated in the tenants’ native languages of Khmer, Spanish, Russian, Burmese, and Ukrainian. Google Translate is not an accurate translator.
5. Respond to property maintenance needs as required by law, especially the existing issues of pests and mold.
DAWG of San Diego DSA