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The fenced-off, booby-trapped “autonomous zone” in Oregon has finally been dismantled after Portland’s mayor brokered a deal with protesters — and apologized to them.
The Twitter handle for those leading the protests at the “Red House on Mississippi” started calling for “comrades” to help “take these barricades down” Sunday night.
“Our work is not going unseen!” the protesters tweeted, hailing a deal between the city and the Kinneys, a black family whose eviction sparked the three-block barricade covered in Antifa and anti-cop graffiti.
“The mayor has promised the Kinney family that they will not raid Red House as long as the barricades are taken down by Monday night,” the group said.
The “autonomous zone” was set up on Tuesday though protests have been held at the site for the past three months.
Most of the barricades were gone by late Sunday, according to The Oregonian.
Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office confirmed that a deal had been struck, though it was not clear if the house was being sold back to the Kinneys, the family that was evicted after defaulting on a second mortgage taken out to pay a relative’s legal fees in a criminal case.
Wheeler did, however, write to the family to “apologize” for his own earlier tweet in which he authorized cops to “use all lawful means to end the illegal occupation,” according to the letter shared with The Oregonian.
“We did not intend to attract attention that results in threats of harm and violence to your family or that escalated tensions in our community,” he wrote to the family, the paper said.
“Nobody should be subjected to this kind of stress and harm, and we apologize for the role our tweets played in this.”
In a statement, Wheeler told the paper that with “measured optimism” he hoped they could “move toward the next steps to advance the safety and well-being of the family and the safety of the neighborhood.”
Activist Mac Smiff called it a clear “win” for the protesters, who violently clashed with police last week as authorities tried to take back the house.
“This is a whole new level of progress and the impacts are going to reverberate around the nation,” Smiff told The Oregonian.
“This isn’t like what we’ve seen before. It’s a negotiation and a win, and that’s something we’re just not used to.”
The current owner has offered to sell the house back to the Kinneys for the $260,000 he paid for it in a foreclosure sale, as well as the $20,000 it has cost him since then.
So far the offer does not appear to have been accepted — even though more than $309,000 has been raised for the family.