CORVALLIS, Ore. – Dozens of families are being evicted after a change in ownership at a Corvallis apartment complex.
What used to be the Corvalla apartments is now called The Park at 5th Street since the Riverstone Residential Group purchased it, a company based in Dallas, Texas.
One former tenant, Dawn Lyman, moved into the Corvalla in September.
“I was told that they got bought out by new owners, but I was not informed that I would be asked to move two months later,” she said.
In November, Lyman says she and many other of her neighbors received an eviction notice from Riverstone Residential saying they needed to be out by Dec. 31.
“I don’t know what to do,” she said. “I’m staying at friends’ houses.”
She has two sons who are temporarily staying with their grandma, but Lyman says she is currently homeless.
“My sons get straight As,” she said, “They’re really good boys. And right now I think with the last move and this move, it’s been really hard on the family and my oldest son – his grades are starting to slip.”
Lyman says many of the tenants at Corvalla have been low-income residents or disabled. The City Housing Division says Corvalla offered some of the cheapest rent in town. But now, a single-bedroom apartment that used to cost $500 per month has jumped to at least $725. Since the renovation projects have started, Lyman says more students have been moving in. Riverstone Residential says on its website that the complex is near Oregon State University.
“As I look for places to stay with my limits with HUD, I may have to move to Albany or Lebanon,” Lyman said.
Another tenant, Nicole Navarro, has three children and has one on the way. She received a no-cause eviction notice stating she would need to be out by the end of February.
“What am I going to do?” she said. “It’s sad that they don’t care that we end up on the streets if we can’t find a place to go.”
The tenants could stay, but they would have to pay up.
“I went in there and asked for an extension and of course they said no,” Lyman said about the management office. “But they did tell me: ‘But we can transfer you into a unit that’s been renovated. But your rent is going to go from $650 to $875.’ Plus renters’ insurance. Plus a deposit. Plus another application fee. It’s just as expensive as going somewhere else.”
Navarro says she is in the same boat.
“I can’t even afford that, even if I was able to move back in here.”
Navarro has not found another place to live either. She moved into her two-bedroom apartment in July at the Corvalla, but only with the aid of several local organizations that help people with move-in deposits and rent costs.
“I had We Care, FISH, and St. Mary’s all help me get in here,” she said. “But they only help you once. So I don’t know what I’m supposed to do or who to go to for help.”
Another concern Lyman has is that the eviction notices are in English, and some of her neighbors only speak Spanish.
“Someone needs to represent the Hispanics who live here who aren’t understanding what’s happening,” she said.
She says one Spanish-speaking neighbor got wind that others were being evicted after he spoke with someone who spoke both English and Spanish.
“He was shocked that other people were getting kicked out,” Lyman said. “He brought down this letter to her and she had to explain to him that he was one of the people who had to go. And he didn’t even know. Because the letter was in English.”
KEZI 9 News tried reaching out to The Park at 5th Street. We were referred to the Riverstone Residential Group corporate office and have not received a response.
If anyone is facing eviction and needs help, contact Bob Loewen with the Corvallis Housing Division at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at: (541) 766-6944.