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Confederate Flag 02

A Confederate flag hangs in The Pillar, a men's co-op, across the street from the Oregon State University campus in September. The owner of The Pillar has filed an eviction complaint against Andrew Oswalt, the resident of the room where the flag was displayed. 

An Oregon State University student who has been displaying a Confederate flag in a window inside his room at an off-campus residence is facing possible eviction.

The landlord for The Pillar, which is located at 2323 NW Monroe Ave., filed an eviction complaint against Andrew Oswalt last week.

The property is owned by the Oregon Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God and managed by Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship. The top two floors of The Pillar, where Oswalt lives, are a men’s co-op that is unaffiliated with Chi Alpha and nonreligious in nature, according to Chi Alpha.

The complaint, filed Feb. 27 in Benton County Circuit Court, states the landlord is entitled to possession of the property because of personal injury, substantial damage, extremely outrageous act or unlawful occupant. The complaint alleges Oswalt utilized his rental unit “as the staging area for an intimidation campaign against Corvallis community members.” The complaint asserts Oswalt is in violation of a state law against intimidation.

Across the street from The Pillar is OSU’s Black Cultural Center, located at 100 SW Memorial Place.

Oswalt is facing a criminal intimidation charge for allegedly placing racist stickers last year on cars belonging to members of a group called Showing Up for Racial Justice.

Salem attorney Matthew Shepard is representing Oswalt in the eviction matter. Corvallis attorney Andrew Noonan is representing the Oregon Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God. Both attorneys appeared in court Wednesday, during which time the case was set for a hearing at 8:30 a.m. on March 19. Oswalt was not present during the hearing.

In a motion filed by Shepard following the hearing, the attorney asks for the court to dismiss the eviction complaint. Shepard argues that the complaint is deficient because it lacks specific claims.

Some of Shepard’s arguments include that the complaint does not state any dates for the alleged acts of intimidation. The attorney also asserts that the term “staging area” means a place where people or things are assembled for some action or event, and the complaint therefore fails to allege that Oswalt engaged in acts of intimidation at the property.

Lillian Schrock covers public safety for the Gazette-Times. She may be reached at 541-758-9548 or lillian.schrock@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter at @LillieSchrock. 

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