Silvertowne: Adding to the story

January 2019 Posted in Community, People

I read the article about Silvertowne with great interest because that is my home. I would like to thank Our Town for shining a light on our situation here. While it did touch on some of the concerns, there is more to the story and I feel compelled to present a broader picture.

We do feel fortunate to have such lovely apartments. Most of the apartments are subsidized by Marion County Housing and by Rural Development/USDA. The company that owns the complex is Integrated Services Living, ( I.S. Living), in Salem who also owns and manages other apartments for elderly and disabled people.

All over our nation the poor and elderly are being forsaken by the society they helped create. Low income housing is being grabbed by unknown shell companies, backed by billionaires, who don’t see housing as “home” but rather another resource to be exploited for the highest price possible. Poor people are being evicted or priced out of their homes. And the homeless population grows. This is the truth…. we need the whole story…. we need to see to it that all our citizens are protected and empowered to be the best they can be. This is Silverton, not Mayberry, and we are a strong and compassionate community! We care if anyone in our community is being mistreated.

What needs to be added to the story is that for years hazardous conditions, such as inadequate outdoor lighting and buckled sidewalks have existed here. Several elders have fallen and injured themselves. Other problems, such a flooding in one laundry room and no hot water in the other, have been neglected. One bedridden resident could not get his broken front door fixed for over a year

Eviction notices have been numerous and often unwarranted, leaving residents feeling insecure. One man was expected to sign an illegal document before he could remain in his apartment. A woman had to notify Fair Housing of Oregon before I.S. Living would take action to protect her. As unbelievable and cruel as this sounds, I.S. Living sent an eviction notice to a woman who was in a rehabilitation center. Rural Development prevented that eviction. These conditions became intolerable, so we created a Tenant Association.

At our first meeting 19 residents attended. People were almost shouting about I.S. Living’s threats and intimidation tactics and their failure to make needed repairs. Several people had firsthand experience being threatened by the CEO who was quoted as saying “if you don’t like it here just leave.” Of course, this begs the question “Leave and go where?” If you are elderly and poor you don’t have options.

The Tenant Association asked for a meeting with the Board of Directors on two separate occasions. Both requests were ignored. In an email the CEO said “that isn’t going to happen”. So we took our concerns to the City of Silverton. They told us our concerns were City Code Violations and stepped in immediately to protect Silvertowne residents.

Currently, because of the intervention by the City of Silverton and the support of Fair Housing of Oregon, the residents feel more secure. However, in this day and age, when elders can be discounted, ignored or even abused, we need to remember that old people used to be teachers and business owners and writers, and nurses and city officials and social workers.

Being old is not an invitation to disregard. Just because our bodies and our brains don’t function as they once did, we want and deserve the dignity of having survived the battle and lived a long life!

– Molly Ainsley

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