Bayside Village Tenants Fight Against Potential Loss of Affordable Housing
Bayside Village houses affordable units and most tenants pay about $620/month to live there, according to the Portland Press Herald, and until recently, it was one of the few remaining low-income housing left in what could be called the most desirable city in the state.
Now, that could all change.
The city of Portland planning board approved the sale of Bayside Village to Port Property Management, a company that owns several buildings in and around Portland, the newspaper reported.
Bayside tenants are worried this could mean mass eviction to renovate and hike up prices in the complex, according to the Press Herald. This would eliminate affordable units and mean potential homelessness for those who currently call the place home.
The newspaper reported that Tom Watson, owner of Port Property Management, proposed converting the existing 100 4-bed affordable suites into 196 one- or two-bedroom units, priced at market value. However, in a July 10 letter, Watson promised that there would be no need for panic, as the population of tenants is transitory and most apartments will have turned over within 2-3 years.
“We have never in our 26-year history implemented mass evictions. It’s simply way too destructive to everybody’s lives. We are very sensitive to our tenants’ ways of life and living situations.”
Having signed leases that included a clause saying that any new owner would not be obligated to honor their agreement, tenants are more than a little hesitant to take Watson's promise as fact, according to the Press Herald
“We want legally binding promises, not statements that are only intended to pacify us and allow Port Property Management to do whatever is convenient for them and is best for their bottom line,” said Alyssa Floyd, a student who organized the rally at City Hall Monday, told the newspaper.