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Ore. woman finds Portland home illegally occupied on Astini News

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland police evicted nearly a dozen squatters who had been living in a vacated home they mistakenly thought was owned by Bank of America.

The squatters were members of Occupy Portland, and they had been in the two-story home since September before they were forced to leave Friday. The protesters had started receiving mail at the North Portland address, signed up for the Internet and one of them even put the water bill in his name.

But property records show the home actually belongs to Gloria Canson, a 66-year-old schoolteacher. She discovered the squatters when she went to the home in March. Her real estate agent contacted Portland police, and they obtained a warrant forcing the occupiers to leave.

As Portland police ushered the squatters out Friday, Canson got to meet the people who left her home trashed. The occupiers said they were protesting Bank of America, which they thought owned the house.

"Don't take advantage of the people you're supposed to be helping," Canson told the protesters, according to The Oregonian newspaper. "And don't hide behind the premise that it is ethically and morally wrong for the banks to throw you out. Because what you're doing is equally as reprehensible."

Canson had left the home in August, fearing she was going to be thrown out because she was behind on her mortgage payments.

Bank of America officials said they did talk to Canson last August about her account, but they never sent her an eviction notice.

"Property owners should be aware that an eviction notice is not sent unless a foreclosure has been completed first," the bank said in a statement.

When Canson later learned that she still owned the home, she decided to put it up for sale. That's when she discovered the squatters, who had changed all the locks and told her they were legally renting the place.

Police said they found anarchist materials inside, including the addresses of vacant homes as well as information on how to pick locks. And some of the squatters were repeat offenders. After police arrested Kerry Cunneen in February for squatting in a home on North Minnesota Avenue, she moved to Canson's home on North Mississippi.

Canson now lives in a northeast Portland townhouse. Though the house on North Mississippi holds many memories, she said she won't come back.

"After looking in this house, I don't want to be in this house," she said.


Information from: The Oregonian,

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