Oregon State Treasurer and Portland mayoral candidate Ted Wheeler on Wednesday released the following statement on the draft findings of the City Club of Portland’s affordable housing research committee:

The City Club of Portland’s recommendations on the action needed to combat Portland’s housing crisis echo what I’ve been hearing on the campaign trail: We need better tenant protections, a no cause eviction ordinance, improved systems for renters, applicants and landlords to share data, and more affordable housing construction.

I proposed an affordable housing plan in February that will achieve these goals.

The Tenants’ Bill of Rights calls for a just cause eviction standard similar to the one in place in Seattle, the creation of an Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs, encouraging the great work being done by entrepreneurs in Portland like NoAppFee.com, and reducing red tape to build more affordable housing.
We know the work ahead of us. Now, it’s a question of rolling up our sleeves to confront this crisis so working families can still call Portland home.
A comparison of the policy proposals and the city club recommendations are below

Recommendations laid out in the City Club report (April 13, 2016) include:

  • The city should ban no-cause evictions and enact a just-cause eviction policy.
  • The Oregon Legislature should end the ban on local rent regulation.
  • The city should remove barriers and identify incentives that encourage development of more housing types and work with neighborhoods to dispel concerns about “missing middle housing.”
  • The City of Portland, Portland Development Commission and Metro should fund a land bank for affordable housing that strategically purchases properties.
  • Portland City Council should create and fund dedicated revenue streams to build new subsidized affordable housing units.
  • The city should implement a landlord licensing system that would allow for data collection, increased inspections and education.

    Recommendations outlined in Ted Wheeler’s Tenants’ Bill of Rights (Feb, 2016) 

    Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs: Create the Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs within the Portland Housing Bureau to mediate disputes between tenants and landlords. The office would inform landlords and renters of their rights and responsibilities, including a clear and consistent set of standards for landlords. The office would be funded by shifting existing resources within the Housing Bureau, or through fees paid by the industry the office regulates.

    Just Cause Evictions: Establish a set of Just Cause Eviction Criteria, similar to the City of Seattle, which details 18 such criteria. Relocation payments will be required for certain Just Cause evictions and any No Cause evictions, should they still be allowed.

    Funding for Affordable Housing: Increased demolitions in Portland lead to increased property tax revenues from the new homes built, because the new homes will be assessed at current market levels. The city should consider capturing the additional property tax revenues for these properties, and dedicating the revenues to affordable housing.

    Reduce Roadblocks to Building Affordable Housing: Immediately reduce or waive fees for affordable housing, cut red tape, and streamline the process. Affordable housing developers should have a single point of contact at the city to help navigate the process. Closely evaluate the effects of design review upon affordable housing development, and create a standard set of approved materials and styles for affordable housing to reduce the time in design review.

    PDX Rent: Encourage the creation of an online database for landlords and prospective renters that includes a standardized rental application and background check. Portland entrepreneurs are already lending their talents to affordable housing and tenants’ issues. Tyrone Poole recently won the 1776 Challenge Cup Regional in San Francisco for his site NoAppFee.com, which utilizes data and technology to promote equal access to housing. The city should be capitalizing on these innovations.

    Inspections: Work to implement the Bureau of Development Services and Housing Bureau plan to increase inspections. Renters deserve a safe, well-maintained place to live.