Four of the five Multnomah County commissioners—County Chair Deborah Kafoury and Commissioners Sharon Meieran, Susheela Jayapal, and Jessica Vega Pederson—are urging the Portland City Council to pass the tenant screening and security deposit legislation championed by City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly.
In a May 20 letter, they addressed one of the more controversial parts of the ordinances: the effort to ensure landlord don't discriminate against people with a criminal background.
"This proposal also helps reduce barriers to housing for a population that has faced unjust obstacles in our community for far too long – those who have been incarcerated," they wrote. "This ordinance uses research-based criteria to identify low-risk characteristics that would help former offenders obtain housing and not be perpetually punished for long-past offenses. This would help reduce the cycle of incarceration and homelessness for many in our community, and help get people back in stable housing and on their feet again."
Vega Pederson, who spearheaded the letter of support, says the idea for public support came out of one of her regularly scheduled meetings with Eudaly.
"At the county we see the impact that a lack of stable housing has on families, on individuals, on our community," Vega Pederson tells WW. "Housing and affordability remains an issue."
After a revision of the ordinances, the proposals seem likely to pass City Council. A hearing at City Council is scheduled for Thursday, though a vote is not expected this week.