From SC Indybay:
Santa Cruz, CA, U.S.A.- November 30, 2011.
The formerly vacant building at 75 River St. is being repurposed by an autonomous group, in solidarity with Occupy Santa Cruz. Formerly a big bank, it was bought out by Wells Fargo. Subsequently, the building closed, and has remained vacant for nearly three years. Today this group has, without breaking & entering, taken the building with intentions of using the space in a productive way that benefits the community of Santa Cruz . The property will no longer be left open by big development companies as a sign of the economic despair in this county, but will rather be used to enrich and teach the local community.
While the middle class quickly falls toward the poverty line, the big banks and the extremely wealthy continue to get rich at the expense of all. Across the United States 1.05 million properties were seized by banks in the year 2010. In Santa Cruz County alone 1,594 homes were auctioned off between November 2010 and October 2011. The foreclosed and vacant buildings in this country serve as a reminder of the ever-growing gap between the ‘rich’ and the ‘poor’. As people are left without shelter and social space due to foreclosures and a declining economy; big banks and developing companies buy out space to simply leave empty.
An existing time-honored U.S. and California law allows for the transfer of a property title when a property is occupied and taken care of by an alternative party for an extended period of time. This law is called adverse possession. The law was born out of the belief that society’s best interests are met when land and property are utilized productively rather than sitting vacant. Today, the building at 75 River St. has been adversely possessed. No longer will the property exist only as an empty parking lot and a vacant building with a sign re-directing people to Wells Fargo across the street. It will be repurposed and used to benefit the community instead of Cassidy Turley, the large-scale commercial real estate company currently leasing the building, and Wells Fargo bank.
Instead of an empty space, there will be a space for community teach-ins, an open library, and discussion forums. The space will be offered to Occupy Santa Cruz as an opportunity to have a roof over its head and allow for more organization to take place. The space will be safe, non-violent, non-destructive and welcoming. The building will be a forum for individuals in the community to learn from one another, and help the Occupy movement grow.
There is a hope to see community support for the reclamation of property and space from the very wealthy, the 1%, back into the hands and benefit of the community.
This action was not decided on by the General Assembly of Occupy Santa Cruz. This press release is not from the Occupy Santa Cruz media team.