Rent-Control War Looms in State Capitol
Tenants and landlords are already gearing up for war in next year's legislative session, when rent control and a ban on landlords evicting tenants without cause are expected to be on the agenda. In a fundraising letter, the newly renamed Equitable Housing PAC, which represents landlords, urged members to fight back against "radical tenant groups." The August letter warns: "Absent sufficient landlord push-back, radical tenant groups seek to persuade our legislators to enact rapid-fire changes to our housing laws like rent control, prohibition of 'no-cause' rental terminations, and long rent-increase notice periods." They have reason to sound the alarm. Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) this week announced her priorities for the legislative session, which include limits on rent hikes and no-cause evictions. Unions, including Service Employees International Union Locals 503 and 49, have lined up in favor of ending the state pre-emption on no-cause evictions in the next legislative session.
City Club Snubs City Council Race
Four years ago, when then-state Rep. Mary Nolan challenged Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz for a seat on the City Council, they squared off in a Friday Forum debate at City Club of Portland, an event widely covered by local media. Chloe Eudaly, who's challenging City Commissioner Steve Novick in the November election, won't get that same chance to boost her name recognition. City Club, which airs debates on Oregon Public Broadcasting, won't be hosting a Novick-Eudaly debate. "There was a feeling," says Mike Marshall, the club's executive director, "that a City Council race in Portland wouldn't resonate with listeners statewide." The club is, however, hosting a debate among the four candidates for two seats on the Multnomah County Commission. County issues have a regional impact, Marshall says. Eudaly says she's disappointed. "It makes me feel that they don't take this election seriously," she says.
Benson Students Demand District Records on Lockout
Students at Benson and Lincoln high schools have developed a more-than-academic curiosity about the public records Portland Public Schools keeps. On Sept. 11, student leaders asked the district to release all the records on why it blocked Benson students from leaving their school building for more than 30 minutes to join a Lincoln student protest that had gathered outside Sept. 7. The students' cause was taken up by parents, including activist Kim Sordyl, who have submitted public records requests for any letters or emails about the Benson lockout exchanged between PPS, its security guards, and the Portland Police Bureau. "District officials who ordered and supported the lockout must be held accountable for this rash and unnecessary action," student leaders at Benson and Lincoln said in a statement. "We believe PPS violated the civil liberties of Benson students."