Getting to the Root of Oregon's Housing Issues

Posted By: Molly McGrew Industry News,

In my December article, I talked about the important obligation each of us shares to stay politically informed and exercise our right to vote regardless of party affiliation. I made a bold plea to those of you who are unaffiliated (or uninterested) voters to get involved in your local political scene and put political parties aside in order to truly vote for the best person for the job.

I was delighted to read these same sentiments in a piece published in the December 27 edition of the New York Times titled, “The 2010s Were the End of Normal.”

To quote: “Without commonly agreed upon facts, we cannot have reasoned debates with other voters and instead become susceptible to the fear-mongering of demagogues…the danger is that we grow so weary and cynical that we withdraw from civic engagement.”

 As we enter the next decade, and more immediately, the next legislative session, we must remain engaged, informed and willing to do what we can to provide solutions to two significant problems plaguing not only Portland, but the state of Oregon: homelessness and the lack of “affordable” housing. As informed citizens we must focus on the underlying issues causing these social failings and not be distracted by the symptoms.

During this short session, my work with Multifamily NW will be focused on four areas which specifically affect these underlying issues:

  • Commercial Activity Tax
  • Legislation requiring rent caps on affordable units
  • The utility allocation fix
  • Cap and Trade legislation

If we continue to allow one-sided information from tenant advocates to focus on rent increases as the problem and not as the symptom of the supply and demand of housing, then we are ceding facts that leave out the greater context of why rental housing is increasing within affordable units.

Homelessness and the lack of “affordable” housing are issues directly affected by more far-reaching legislation. Get informed on the broader landscape allowing these issues to continue and use your voice and vote to affect change.