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  • Thursday, April 28, 2016 3:36 PM | Deleted user

    From Bikeportland.org's Real Estate Beat:

    As Portlanders debate ways to deal with the city’s continuing surge of housing prices, a coalition of local affordable-housing developers and service providers says Portland can’t afford to continue banning so-called “missing middle” housing from most of the city.

    Duplexes, triplexes, internal home divisions and two-story garden apartments are common throughout many of the neighborhoods Portland built in the early 20th century. Today, those neighborhoods are the city’s most walkable, bikeable and transit-friendly — but since 1959, city code has made it illegal to build more neighborhoods like that. Homes with multiple kitchens or space for fewer than two cars are forbidden even on most residential land in the central city.

    The Oregon Opportunity Network, which speaks for 20 local low-income housing providers and advocates, wrote this week that this ban is contributing to the deep Portland housing shortage that has been driving the poorest Portlanders out of homes entirely.

    Click here to read the full article

  • Thursday, April 28, 2016 3:33 PM | Deleted user

    Portland Tribune | Jim Redden

    Sarah Iannarone became the first major candidate for Portland mayor to call on the city and Multnomah County to temporarily freeze rents and no-cause evictions.

    “In this housing disaster, we need our local governments to take bold action to keep Portlanders in their homes in the short term while we wait for new housing supply to come online and provide further relief,” said the Portland State University urban researcher. “I am calling on local governments to utilize their statutory authority to enact a 9-month temporary rent freeze and moratorium on no cause evictions in order to keep tenants in their homes during this crisis."

    Two groups representing local renters are split over whether the city and county can legally do what Iannarone is demanding, however. Oregon law bans cities and counties from controlling rents. The only exception is in the event of "a natural or man-made disaster that materially eliminates a significant portion of the rental housing supply occurs."

    The Portland City Attorney and the Multnomah County Counsel have both advised that rent hikes and the reported increase in no-cause evictions are not enough to qualify for the exception.

    Iannarone disagrees.

    "There is a general preemption with an exception for disasters. The rent control preemption ordinance contains several terms that are undefined in the statutes, such as 'temporary,' 'man-made disaster,' 'materially eliminates,' and 'significant portion.' This provides wiggle room for local governments to provide relief in the current crisis," Iannarone says.

    The grassroots Portland Tenants Union agrees with Iannarone.

    "An emergency rent freeze and moratorium on no-cause evictions are two strong tools that could be implemented to immediately stabilize vulnerable tenants and stop the eviction-to-homelessness pipeline," says PTU spokesperson Gabriel Erbs.

    Click here to read the full article

  • Thursday, April 28, 2016 2:44 PM | Deleted user

    Portland Mercury | Dirk VanderHart

    Two weeks ago, Portland housing activists shut down a Multnomah County Commission meeting with demands that no-cause evictions be banned immediately, and rent hikes cease.

    Last week, a committee from one of the city's premier civic organizations is largely agreeing.

    In a report released Wednesday, an 11-member research committee for the City Club of Portland recommends the city take an array of new steps to address its burgeoning housing affordability crisis, which has ushered in nearly double digit rent increases and even higher home price hikes in recent years.

    The money quote of the report: “We must not be satisfied with saying in one breath, ‘Live in Portland and innovate in the arts, technology, and the environment and also have a good quality of life,’ and in the next breath, ‘You will have to live on the outskirts of the city, far from great public transport and amenities, and we’ll allow your landlords to keep raising rent and evicting without cause.’”

    The report—developed with the help of 20 "witnesses" and months of discussion—is a notable effort from an organization whose research is not infrequently cited to justify new policy tweaks. It's also a helpful summary of how dire the housing situation's gotten here in recent years, and worth a read in full. 

    Click here to read the full article.

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