House Speaker Tina Kotek announced her support Monday night for changing state law to limit how much landlords can raise the rent.
For more than a year tenant groups have been pushing for rent freezes in the midst of the housing crunch, but state law explicitly bars rent control.
Kotek, speaking at the Oregon Opportunity Network's gala, said she wants to take up the issue when the legislature meets next year and also bar landlords from evicting tenants without giving a reason.
"Our housing crisis is a man-made emergency that demands bold action," Kotek said, according to the prepared remarks provided by her office.
"We have privileged the right to make a profit on property far above the universal human right to safe and stable housing. We have a market where a select few own multiple homes while unprecedented numbers of homeless are unsheltered and low-income individuals face higher risk of homelessness with every rent increase. This is not the Oregon we want."
In the short session, earlier this year, the legislature passed inclusionary zoning, allowing cities to require developers to set aside affordable housing in certain areas of the city, as well as requiring landlords to give longer notice for rent hikes and evictions. Protections against no-case evictions were on the table but scrapped.
Even with a Democratic-controlled legislature, the legislation still face challenging path, particularly in the state Senate, which has a Democratic majority but is generally more conservative.