'Devastated': Missoula renters denied after forming cooperative to buy their homes

David Erickson

A group of apartment complex tenants in Missoula’s Westside neighborhood rode an emotional rollercoaster this week after being informed that their property was being sold and attempting a moonshot to avoid being displaced by higher rents or evictions.

In a stressful and urgent frenzy of coordination, they rushed to form a cooperative in order to pool their money and raise the $1.3 million asking price. It was a momentous achievement for a group of working-class renters who only know each other from being neighbors. But in the end, despite their efforts, they were denied anyway.

“I’m heartbroken,” said Meg Payne, who led the group. “I’m f—— devastated.”

But Payne is heartened by the fact that the group got so much community support and now they’re encouraged that a housing cooperative is a model that can be successful.

“We can use this to rally for affordable housing and to ask people to consider joining the tenants union or using it as an opportunity to advertise how we can build momentum behind it,” Payne said of the ordeal.

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