At 9 am on July 5, officers with the Eugene Police Department and Lane County Sheriff’s Office burst through Candice King’s window to evict her and her four kids. Within minutes police escorted King’s family outside while the property management company, R&R changed the locks. King live streamed the interactions with the police on Facebook leading to roughly 40 neighbors and friends to rush the scene.
“This is your heroic moment,” King said to the dozen police officers forming a blockade between protesters and her house.
King stopped paying rent to landlord Sharon Prager in March citing poor management of the property including excessive mold, insufficient heating, and unsafe appliances as reasons for no longer paying rent. She is also dealing with financial insecurity after the suicide of her husband, Eric King. After attempting to fight the eviction in court, King, who ran for Eugene City Council in 2020, was served with Prager’s writ of execution stating that King had until June 26 to move out.
The property management company attempted to drop off a moving pod on June 27 but drove off after being met with a line of protesters in front of King’s property. Protesters and EPD and sheriff’s officers had a standoff in front of the driveway. EPD formed a wall protecting the property and creating a space for a moving truck to drive through while protesters formed a wall of their own in an attempt to inch closer to the property.
Erin Grady, who was at the home as King’s friend and as an activist, described the scene as “way overpoliced,” saying that EPD is not supposed to be involved with evictions. Grady highlights the fact that 14 police officers were present for this eviction — all of them in riot gear including pepperball guns and batons.
The Lane County Sheriff’s Office said it is working on a press release regarding the eviction and protest.
A neighbor and close friend of King, who gave her name only as Kitty, due to a fear of arrest, has lived in the neighborhood for seven years. When she woke up that morning to a notification from Facebook that EPD had broken into King’s house, she wasted no time running out the door to see what was going on. “I know the struggles she’s been enduring with the landlord and what has led her to not paying rent,” Kitty said. “I’m here to support my friend and overall the working class who are being evicted wrongfully.”
The scene was tense between officers and protesters, but remained nonviolent with no arrests made by the police. Grady recalled one particularly tense moment when a man hired to put up a fence around the property decided to quit his job and join protesters in supporting King. After the police evicted King and her family, they made it clear that anyone on the property will be charged with trespassing. The EPD and sheriffs deputies left the scene at around noon, but police drones remained circling the area long after.