City Club calls for immediate action on PDX housing crisis

Research suggests there may not be single solution to housing crisis

As rent prices in the Portland area continue to skyrocket, many new affordable and low-income housing complexes have started popping up all over the city. (KOIN)
As rent prices in the Portland area continue to skyrocket, many new affordable and low-income housing complexes have started popping up all over the city. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A report on Portland’s housing crisis released Wednesday calls for immediate action.

The City Club of Portland has been researching the city’s housing problems for the past 9 months. The nonprofit research organization’s findings indicate where exactly the city is struggling and how it can make things right.

“What we realized when we got into this was, this housing issue affects not just low income Portlanders, but really folks up and down the income scale,” Nels Johnson, chair of the affordable housing study, said. “This is a problem that can’t wait.”

The research confirms Portland is experiencing an affordable housing crisis, but it also suggests there may not be a single or simple solution to the problem.

Full report: Housing Affordability in Portland

But City Club says that shouldn’t dissuade locals from advocating for change.

“We can make progress, and we must act now on measures that will have real benefits for Oregonians struggling to find housing they can afford,” the report states.

City Club’s research cites specific reasons as to why the housing problem exists: There are reportedly fewer federal dollars available now than in years past, not all properties are built to the maximum occupancy allowed and, not only are there no rent control laws, the practice has been illegal in the state for more than 30 years.

It’s reportedly no-cause evictions that let landlords price gouge in Portland.

The report outlines a possible way to fix the problem that would involve adopting a “required for-cause eviction process [to] improve bargaining power of renters by preventing retaliatory and discriminatory no-cause evictions.”

Other solutions presented in the report include dedicating local funds to building more units, letting the city buy foreclosed and discounted properties to convert into affordable housing and giving developers incentives to build more units.

City Club also stresses lifting rent control bans as a possible solution.

“Many growing cities use rent control to address affordability issues,” the report states. “Lifting the state preemption of rent control would allow Portland to conduct a careful study of its suitability as a potential policy tool.”

The report calls on the city and state to take bold and immediate action to address the affordable housing crisis. City Club members will vote on the report this week.

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