#Foreclosure problem
Oregon State Legislature
United States of America

According to the National Consumer Law Center, the foreclosure rate is three times higher than it was during the Great Depression. The Case-Schiller Home Price Index (March 31) showed a decline in property values of 29% for the Portland area. On March 8, 2011, the Oregonian said that 23.1 % of Oregonians owed more than their homes were worth. It is even worse in other cities.

The official unemployment rate is holding steady at 9.1%, while the actual total number of unemployed is 16.2% and rising. There are five unemployed people for every job opening (NY Times, March 11, 2011).

The federal government made a lot of noise about a program to help homeowners, but they relied on voluntary action from the banks. So far only 5% of borrowers have had their loans permanently modified.

The banks wrote one fraudulent mortgage after another, and now have fraudulent foreclosure documents signed by people who don’t even read them. But the government bailed out those same banks with billions of dollars of our tax money!

Even if you aren't out of work, underwater, or facing foreclosure, the situation has consequences for you and your home. When the banks foreclose on a home in your community, and nobody buys it because nobody can afford to anymore, the house sits vacant. The lawn becomes a jungle. The building deteriorates. Leaks aren’t repaired, so rain may damage walls and floors. Thieves may break in and rip out copper pipe, or anything they can sell. They may even use the house as a base for criminal activities. The value of every neighbor’s property continues to plummet, and everyone in the community is endangered.

Not many people know that the land used for the World Trade Center was acquired by eminent domain. David Rockefeller wanted to build the towers, which would increase the value of his other assets in the area, such as the Chase Manhattan Bank building. His brother Nelson was governor of New York, so he was able to get the state to take over properties that were in his way. Hundreds of small businesses were displaced. Just recently, Oregon took over a land for a liquefied national gas pipeline to benefit the energy companies, not the people.

What if our state takes over foreclosed-upon houses, and fixes them up for people who need them? These houses could be reserved for people who have lost their homes through unemployment, disability, or outright fraud by the banks. They should not be made available to speculators—many of whom are already gobbling up foreclosed-upon homes at fire sale prices.

What can you do to help? Sign this petition, which will be delivered to the Oregon State Legislature. Your voice counts!

One-third of homes in Oregon have been foreclosed upon, or are facing foreclosure. Thousands are sitting vacant, deteriorating, and turning into hangouts for criminals, while the banks hold them off the market in order to keep prices up.

We, the undersigned, demand that Oregon 1) enact an indefinite moratorium on foreclosures, and 2) take over the deteriorating empty homes by eminent domain and repair them by partnering with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity. Make those homes available to people who have lost their homes as a result of unemployment, disability, or fraud committed by the banks.

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The Save Our Homes petition to Oregon State Legislature was written by Martha Shelley and is in the category Miscellaneous at GoPetition.