Landslide Farmhouse Eviction Account and Support Information‏

The City has unboarded the house, but informed the residents that they may not sleep there. Legal status is being worked out. A benefit is planned, and donations are being accepted.

UPDATE!!!!

Thanks to the hundreds of phones calls of support to Council Woman Payne’s office, public works, the mayors office, and to 311; the Support of Council Woman Payne, and legal aid from the ACLU, our lawyer and one long, hard day of work from many other helpful folks, the boards will be removed from the farmhouse. We are thankful for all your support. This victory, though temporary, has shown us just how many people in our community and the larger community care about Landslide.

Personal Account of November 7th 2008 Landslide Community Farm’s Farmhouse Eviction

On the morning of November 7th 2008 the Landslide Community Farm volunteers were assembling to plan the 3rd day of their yearly farm closing work week, when Pittsburgh Public Works arrived escorted by several PGHPD vehicles, including a police wagon. The police asked for identification from all people on the sidewalk when they arrived. They then asked to see a written lease agreement or deed for the farmhouse.

No written agreement was able to be presented; police officers then notified all present that we had fifteen minutes to remove our important belongings before the house would be barred. When asked why we were being evicted, we were told that an anonymous complaint call had been made to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s 311 hotline. The caller claimed that we were violating building code.

Neighbors, visitors, and volunteers helped us retrieve as much of our property as we all could before we were denied re-entry. The Public Works employees then measured and tried to board the doors, but their van was a bit too far down the hill. They pulled the van up and backed over their own saw. They had to leave the premises to purchase a new one. Police officers remained outside watching the community farm members as we watched over the farmhouse.

Public Works returned and boarded two of the entrances. The police asked if anyone was still present in the house. A full time volunteer re-entered and checked the premises and reported that no one remained inside. Then, two police officers entered the house admittedly without permission from the owner and without a search warrant. Public Works then boarded the last door and the police informed us we would be immediately arrested if we entered the farmhouse. The PW workers left with the police shortly afterward.

Councilwoman Tonya Payne, a major supporter of the farm, came a bit later with the same PW employees that had sealed the farmhouse. She and the other city employees said they wished they could help us in this situation. The councilwoman didn’t know how to go about that, and the PW employees said that they could only follow orders. We are now trying to figure out our next steps and what our options are. We are currently working with a lawyer but if you have ideas or advice please email Landslide@riseup.net.

If you would like to help us out, we need you! Please come to Landslide in the next few days to help us finish our closing work. You can also attend our emergency fundraiser tomorrow, November 8th, 2008 5452 Wilkins Ave. at 8 pm. We will be having our weekly Sunday Brunch benefit (a spilt benefit between Landslide and Book ‘Em) as usual on Sunday, November 9th Noon-3ish pm. Anything that you have (especially love and support) will help get us through this tough period and build our collective strength. Monies collected will first go toward legal fees and we will also be raising money in case the farmhouse goes up for city auction soon. If you cannot physically come to Landslide but want to donate money, you can send donations via Pay Pal on http://www.thomasmertoncenter.org by selecting “Donate” then “Projects” then choosing the Sustainable Living Project. Checks should be made out to “The Thomas Merton Center” memo “Sustainable Living Project”. Checks and money orders can be sent to: The Thomas Merton Center 5125 Penn Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15206. We will have a list of tools and materials that we could use and projects that are being completed posted on our website shortly. Please check http://www.landslidecommunityfarm.org for updates.

Thanks so much to everyone that has been a part of all the kindness, generosity, and overwhelming support that the project has received. We couldn’t be here with out it.


members
of The Landslide Community Farm

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2 Comments

  1. solidarity must always mean attack. Can I get an Amenn?

  2. Amenn.
    But attack usually means folk-punk and tofu and spare change.
    I also saw solidarity given as an excuse for an obama vote on a email list, so who knows?


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