Oregon Lawmakers Pass Rent Control: The Oregon Legislature approved a bill this week that could make Oregon the only U.S. state to enact statewide rent control. The Oregon House passed Senate Bill 608 on Feb. 26, after the more conservative Senate passed it two weeks before. The bill would place a relatively high cap on rent increases: 7 percent plus inflation for buildings more than 15 years old. It would also largely bar landlords from evicting tenants without cause after their first year in an apartment. The bill is the first major piece of legislation passed by this year's Legislature, whose Democratic majorities grew in the November election. Gov. Kate Brown is expected to sign it.
Bird Kill Costs Feds $5 Million: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spent more than $5.5 million planning and carrying out its killing of double-crested cormorants on an island in the Columbia River. The Corps released the figures this week in response to a records request by WW. The money funded the environmental impact statement, implementing the plan, building structures on the island, and monitoring the project. What it didn't do, according to state wildlife managers, was accomplish its goal to reduce the number of young salmon eaten by the birds. State officials say the birds simply moved upriver, where each surviving cormorant is likely to eat triple the number of salmon as before ("Fishing Expedition," WW, Feb. 6, 2019).
Margot Black Returns to Tenant Leadership: Prominent Portland tenants' rights activist Margot Black has returned to a leadership position at Portland Tenants United, the group she helped found. Black resigned from the group's organizing committee last year after PTU was accused by an African-American organizer of promoting "white supremacy." Black went on to serve as a volunteer adviser to now-City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty's election campaign. Black and Anthony Bencivengo, who helped organize tenants at the Holgate Manor apartment complex last year, were this month elected the first co-chairs of PTU. Black says members asked her to run "to help reinvigorate PTU's militant roots" and said she had tried to respond to criticisms. "Ultimately, I'm done apologizing," she said in a statement, "for being a fierce, outspoken and powerful woman with a brain, opinion and voice."
Portland Veteran Sues Southwest Airlines: A Marine and Army veteran with post traumatic stress disorder is suing Southwest Airlines for $10,000 after a flight attendant confronted him about his emotional support dog while exiting a plane at Portland International Airport. Thomas Bond, who works for Umpqua Bank in Portland but lives in El Paso, Texas, was flying home for two weeks with his Yorkshire terrier, Moto. His flight was delayed because of a mechanical issue, and as he was leaving the plane, a flight attendant allegedly yelled at him for having his dog's carrier partially unzipped. Bond says the flight attendant bumped his shoulder twice and yelled in his face. "It still gives me anxiety," Bond tells WW. "I came pretty close to losing my cookies." Bond says he will drive home to El Paso instead of flying this week. Southwest Airlines says it cannot comment on pending litigation.