“What can we do now in order to be able to do tomorrow what we are unable to do today?” – Paulo Friere
During this legislative session, hundreds of decisions will be made that impact the lives of rural and small town Oregonians. From deciding funding priorities and what to cut to balance the state budget to legislation impacting workers and families, the policies that will be passed are more than laws — they are a reflection of our priorities and what we value most as a state. Read on for ways to take action right now for affordable housing.
Access to affordable housing has become a growing crisis across Oregon. While homelessness surges, many rural and small town Oregonians have been on the cusp of losing their homes because of skyrocketing rents, stagnant local economies where the only job opportunities (if there are any) are part-time minimum wage gigs, and no-cause evictions, which allow landlords to discriminate against tenants without any accountability. Evictions and massive rent increases have disastrous consequences for working people who must spend thousands of dollars to relocate, and with the renewed threat of mass deportation looming, evictions put immigrant families at even higher risk.
Right now, there is an opportunity for a big victory that will dramatically improve living conditions across Oregon. At a time when the new Trump regime launches assault after assault on civil rights, worker rights, and environmental progress, grassroots organizing has created the opportunity to pass real protections for renters and provide relief for folks at risk of losing their housing in our state. There are two bills under review in the Oregon legislature that can bring much needed relief to renters and benefit our communities across the state:
HB 2004 would ban evictions without cause and repeal the current state law that prevents local communities from passing limits to rent hikes. If passed, HB 2004 would require landlords to have just cause to evict someone, except in a few very specific instances. Currently, placing caps on rental prices can only be implemented at the statewide level. HB 2004 would repeal that ordinance, allowing cities and counties to stabilize the cost of rent by setting limits to increases in rent at the local level. There will be a hearing on HB 2004 on March 2nd.
HB 2001 would temporarily put a cap on rent increases and would also repeal the current state law that prevents local communities from passing limits to rent hikes. If passed, landlords would not be able to raise rents more than 5% per year until January 2019, providing much needed immediate relief for renters. Similarly to HB 2004, HB 2001 would also repeal the state ordinance that prevents city and county governments from limiting increases in rental prices, giving local communities the ability to stabilize rent costs and ensure the availability of affordable housing.
Both bills would help renters stay in their homes, save folks thousands of dollars in relocation fees, and would halt the profit-driven rush to enact massive rent increases. Please call your legislators before March 2nd and ask that they support these bills to end no-cause evictions in Oregon and remove the statewide ban on local rent stabilization. Click here to find your legislators and their contact information. You can also text your zip code to 520-200-2223 to receive your legislators’ contact information.
Want to learn more about who is behind these policies? Here are some the grassroots organizations spearheading this drive for reform:
This is a fight for working people initiated by working people. The passage of these bills will benefit communities across the whole state, saving families from eviction and helping taxpayers by reducing the pressure on already strapped social services. It doesn’t cost taxpayers anything, and creates a real financial benefit for the people who need it most. Let’s do this!