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Tenants sue over conditions at affordable housing complex

June 2, 2022 GMT

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Residents of an Oregon affordable housing complex say their living conditions are inhospitable and they want their rent back.

Tenants at the Allen Fremont Plaza in Northeast Portland gathered in the courtyard of the three-story complex Wednesday, describing mold, vermin and people who don’t live there camping in the building’s indoor common areas, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Tenants Gary Bailey, John Brant, Huey Martin, Cathy Mayes and Lisa McConnell have filed lawsuits against Reach Community Development Corp., in Multnomah County Circuit Court. The affordable housing provider, which took over operations of the building seven years ago, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Emily Templeton, the attorney who filed the pro-bono suits, said each plaintiff is seeking a $14,400 refund for the rent paid, as well as a court order to fix the issues. The suit is limited to problems from the past year, but the documented complaints date back to 2013, she said.

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“This lawsuit is to just push the executives at Reach to finally do something,” Templeton said.

Residents are also concerned with the accumulation of trash, exposed wiring, the lack of an on-site manager, drug dealing and substance use, ineffective ventilation, fire hazards and inadequate weatherproofing, according to the plaintiffs.