Karen Batts, 52, died of hypothermia on Saturday after she was evicted from her downtown Portland apartment building for being late $338 in rent.
Portland police confirmed on Tuesday that Batts died from severe hypothermia. She was last seen removing her clothes in a parking garage around 2 pm on Saturday.
According to the Multnomah County eviction notice, Batts had been placed in affordable housing at 333 SW Oak Street.
However, on Oct. 21, 2016, Cascade Management, Inc. and Northwest Housing Alternatives, LLC, evicted her from the building after she was 7 days late paying her $338 rent for August.
The landlords served Batts a 72-hour notice on Sept. 9. The notice asked her to pay the $338 owed plus a $5 late fee. Batts ignored the notice and an eviction complaint was filed with the court.
Batts did not attend the scheduled Oct. 14 hearing, resulting in the court to rule in the favor of the plaintiffs by default.
Martha McLennan, the executive director of Northwest Housing Alternatives said Batts had been a tenant since 2007 and that her behavior had suddenly changed in the spring.
“There were a variety of lease violations that were either damage of property or late payments, also incidents against staff and other tenants,” McLennan tells KATU. “It’s a terrible tragedy to have a situation where someone ends up alone and without resources.”
“We hate these sorts of situations,” McLennan says. “But unfortunately, when someone decline services there’s not much you can do. And I can say there were dozens of attempts to help.”