Out of place - Page 6

Evictions are driving long-time renters out of their homes -- and out of SF. Here are the stories of several people being evicted

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By Rebecca Bowe

Hester Michael is a fashion designer, and her home doubles as a project space for creating patterns, sewing custom clothing, weaving cloth, and painting. She's lived in her Outer Sunset two-bedroom unit for almost two decades, but now she faces an Ellis Act eviction. Michael says she initially received notice last June. The timing was awful -– that same month, her husband passed away after a long battle with terminal illness.

"I've been here 25 years. My friends are here, and my business. I don't know where else to go, or what else to do," she says. "I just couldn't picture myself anywhere else."

Michael rents the upstairs unit of a split single-family home, a kind of residence that normally isn't protected by rent control. Yet she leased the property in 1994, getting in under the wire before that exemption took effect. Since she pays below-market-rate rent in a home that could be sold vacant for top dollar, a target was essentially inscribed on her back when the property changed hands in 2004. That's about when her long battle with the landlords began, she says.

From the get-go, her landlords indicated that she should look for a new place, Michael says, yet she chose to remain. The years that followed brought things falling into disrepair, she says, and a string of events that caused her feel intimidated and to fear eviction. Finally, she consulted with tenant advocates and hired an attorney. A complaint filed in superior court alleges that the property owners "harassed and retaliated [Michael] when she complained about the defective and dangerous conditions ...telling [her] to move out of the property if she did not like the dangerous conditions thereat ... repeatedly making improper entries into [the] property, and wrongfully accusing [her] of causing problems."

Records show that Angela Ng serves as attorney in fact for the property owner, Ringo Chung Wai Lee. Steven Adair MacDonald, an attorney who represents both landlords and tenants in San Francisco housing disputes, represents the owners. "An owner of a single family home where the rent is controlled and a fraction of market has virtually no other choice but to terminate the tenancy," MacDonald said when the Guardian reached him by phone. "They've got to empty it, and the only way to empty it is the Ellis Act."

While Michael received an extension that allows her to remain until June 5, she fears her custom sewing business, Hester's Designs, will suffer if she has to move. There's the issue of space. "I have so much stuff in this house," she says. And most of her clients are currently located close by, so she doesn't know where her business would come from if she had to relocate. "A lot of my clients don't have cars," she says, "so if I live in some suburb in the East Bay, forget it. I'll lose my business."

The prospect of eviction has created a major dilemma for Michael, who first moved to San Francisco in 1987. While moving to the East Bay seems untenable, she says renting in San Francisco feels out of reach. "People are renting out small, tiny bedrooms for the same price as I pay here," she says. With a wry laugh, she adds: "I don't think there's any vacant apartments in San Francisco -– unless you're a tech dude and make seven grand a month."

Comments

Can't remember it's name - runs east-west - but it's got bars, restaurants, boutiques etc.

Pearl District isn't too bad, like SOMA.

The rest is pretty grungey, and with worse weather of course. But hey, if that's all Weissman and marcos can afford . .

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 10:23 am

Marcos will love the nine months a year of rain.

He can keep reminding himself that July, August, and September are nice, if nothing else.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 10:32 am

That sound familiar?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 10:49 am

Poor imitiation of SF, but not too bad either.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 12:23 pm

"Poor imitiation of SF, but not too bad either."

I rent a small house near Hawthorne for less than a thousand bucks a month.

I'll take the poor imitation, thanks.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 1:44 pm
Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

I'd prefer we buy in Tabor South or FoPo, maybe a bit further in if the package is appealing. It is all pretty flat between there and most places in SE that you want to go, so bicycling is pretty feasible,

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

"I'd prefer we buy in Tabor South or FoPo"

Ah, you don't have as much money as Weissman, do you?

You live that far east, and you are going to be finding a **lot** more working class/immigrant/lowlife types than you do in the yuppie paradise of Hawthorne, et. al. (Still no black people, though.)

You may be hoping that the demographic in those areas eventually becomes "you", but it is a long way from being that yet.

The hope of gentrification springs eternal...

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:27 pm

The last thing we need is out-of-state pro-developer pundit trolls fucking over our communities.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 10:34 am

Just so long as you don't move to my community, Marcos, s'il vous plaît.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 10:47 am

SE PDX it is, being subsidized by another tech geek to live a life of luxury in a place where they have a real summer and the population is as white as the Mission was in the 1950s.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 11:01 am

"and the population is as white as the Mission was in the 1950s."

Living in a place like that been your lifelong dream, hasn't it?

Marcos will fit right in - leftist Portlanders love to babble on about "diversity", while carefully choosing to live in the whitest big city in the United States.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 11:16 am

You've busted me, I'm a full blooded racist, and my hood and robe are safely ensconced in my closet.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 11:45 am

white power groups. I'm sure you're lilly white ass will do just fine there.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 12:22 pm

I might add that it is because of carpetbaggers like you that it is impossible for normal Portlanders to afford houses in nice neighborhoods in Portland.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 10:20 am
Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

The RBA and TIC speculator flippers gentrified the Mission.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 12:50 pm

older, poorer whites and deprived hispanic families of housing options.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 1:12 pm

If that was a problem, I'm sure that the most progressive city in the US would take steps to stabilize your community, if that is where you live. My bet is that you lost out on SF real estate and are now belittling everyone else to make up for your humiliation.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

talking down to those he deems beneath him on the housing ladder.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

SE Portland's demographic is me.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

chip on their shoulder so, yeah, I'd agree.

Mills College is you.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

"SE Portland's demographic is me."

So, so true.

After all, why not throw off all pretense of valuing diversity, when you can live in a 99.9% white yuppie area. Ooops... a Vietnamese family lives down the street from me, so make that 99.8%.

Although, Marcos is specifically referring to inner Southeast Portland - you go too far east in Southeast Portland, and you start running into methhead and Russian neighborhoods, even before you hit the demographic wall east of 82nd Avenue.

Can't be too careful where you live...

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

I value diversity which is why I'm not too keen on seeing San Francisco turn from a rainbow city into an upscale white and yellow city.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 1:56 pm

adding to diversity?

If you really valued diversity, you would want to live EAST of 82nd in PDX.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

...while you plan on moving to the whitest part of the whitest city in the United States.

That's Valuing Diversity, all right!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

Isn't NW the whitest part of the whitest city?

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:24 pm

"Isn't NW the whitest part of the whitest city?"

Hard to distinguish between shades of whiteness at that rarified level - let's just say that it is unusual to see a black person walking down Hawthorne. (And even more unusual to see a black person walking down Division or Belmont in that area.)

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:31 pm

Fortunately PDX is Latinoizing somewhat.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

Yeah, Marcos, I'm sure that it's a really critical issue for you that Portland is becoming more Latino. LOL.

Besides, Marcos - the Latinos are moving east of 82nd Avenue - you know, that area that you have already decided that you aren't going to live in.

Since the average resident of inner Southeast Portland visits the part of Portland east of 82nd Avenue about as often as they visit Pluto, you, like your neighbors, can safely put Latinos and other minority groups completely out of sight and out of mind, except for the restaurants they open in your neighborhoods.

Our former mayor referred to Portland as "America's most European city", and we are highly European, inasmuch as we have managed to boot almost all the poor and minority people in Portland out to the fringes of the city and to adjacent suburbs, thereby managing to clear out the desirable inner city Portland neighborhoods for people like Marcos. (Lots of redevelopment money was involved.)

And we've still managed to convince people that Portland is a "liberal" city!

We're PR geniuses!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 10:28 am

Did you know that much of Portland east of 82nd Avenue has neither sidewalks nor paved streets?

Bike lanes in yuppie neighborhoods in inner Southeast Portland are a key city priority, to be paid for by everyone in Portland!

If someone in a poor neighborhood in outer east Portland wants the street paved in front of their house, they can damn well pay for it themselves!

That's how we roll in Portland!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 10:41 am

Yeah, we did house hunting around that area several years ago, it was like falling off of the end of the earth in some senses. Plaid Pantry don't cut it for me.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 11:29 am
Posted by anon on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

Progressive avoids corporate death foods, stop the presses.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

Thanks for reminding me, Marcos - I'd gotten into the habit of stopping off at Plaid to buy something to eat and drink on the way to work, forgetting that given our mutual social class, it is really inappropriate to be slumming like that.

In the future, I'll limit myself to handcrafted artisanal locally-sourced food, priced at a level that no mere Portland peasant could afford.

Thanks for the reminder regarding appropriate class behavior, Marcos!

There are certain things that Simply Aren't Done at our rarefied social level!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

You really need to stay west of 50th, Marcos, but otherwise, Portland has been designed by people like Marcos to appeal to people like Marcos. Everyone else in Portland can go hang.

I can appreciate why your delicate sensibilities would be offended by Plaid Pantry - after all, Plaid is patronized by working-class people. Can't have that.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 11:48 am

If you eat shit, then you treat yourself like shit.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

a place full of effeminate white liberals like himself.

He wouldn't survive 5 minutes east of 82nd because he has nothing in common with the hispnaics, blacks and rednecks who live there.

Posted by anon on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 10:58 am

Ad hominem Troll.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 11:29 am
Posted by anon on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

Ad Hominem Troll.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

Where do you get that exploitative landlord thing from? Are you an exploitive worker at your McDonalds job? Some people just have a better way of making money, than you obviously do.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 7:38 pm

and totally predictable that there will be market cycles. Those swings notwithstanding, equity and property values have increased manyfold over the last few decades, creating millions of millionaires. I doubt that you will convince many here or elsewhere that that is not a desirable thing.

Posted by anon on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 8:32 pm

And it is well known that there is public policy to stabilize communities from market bubbles.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 8:39 pm

Market cycles create opportunity.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 9:00 pm

And the white male christian republicans from the 1940s gave us zoning to try to stabilize communities.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 9:24 pm
Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 7:35 am

The Mission has always had white people living here since settlement. The warehouse we lived in hadn't been housing previously and our condo was owned by a white woman. Problem?

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 10:09 am

Now it's hispanic but moving back to white again.

Things change.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 10:21 am

Almost 100%, Really?

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 10:34 am