Housing advocate Justin Buri dies at 36

PORTLAND, Ore. – One of the most prominent and dedicated advocates for affordable housing in Portland has passed away. 

Justin Buri was 36. His wife told the Willamette Week he committed suicide after a long struggle with depression.  

Until recently, Buri was the Executive Director of the Community Alliance of Tenants (CAT), which advocated for renters rights and supported people experiencing rising rents and at risk of eviction. His work was instrumental in Portland’s declaration of a housing state of emergency.

The Community Alliance of Tenants confirmed Buri’s death on Facebook Thursday, in a detailed obituary

Dear Colleagues, Members, & Friends,

It is with very heavy hearts that we write these words to you today. Our very dear friend, colleague and fearless leader in our community, Justin Buri, has passed away. Today our partners at Augustana Church have opened their doors for all who wish to light a candle and say a prayer in honor of his memory. The address is 2710 NE 14th Ave. Portland, OR 97212.

Justin began his journey with CAT in 2009 as a volunteer, helping Oregon's tenants navigate the very difficult world of learning and standing up for our rights and responsibilities as tenants in Oregon; eventually standing at the helm of Oregon's only statewide renters rights organization as Executive Director.

He helped champion historic changes in landlord tenant law ranging from making it illegal to discriminate against Housing Choice Voucher recipients, increasing the notice period for tenants living in their homes longer than one year from 30 days to 60 days, advocating for Portland's current Enhanced Inspections program, to leading the charge on declaring Oregon's current #RenterStateofEmergency, the ripple effects and fruits of which we are still seeing today.

We honor his life and service in these things and so much more, as he was instrumental in lifting the voices and experiences of the most-impacted tenants to our policy makers at local, regional, state, and national levels.

Truly a force to be reckoned with, he will be sorely missed. More details to follow on a collective celebration of his life and heartfelt service to our community.

In the meantime, let us continue the journey toward a more just and equitable housing landscape - a vision he cherished and one we believe we can achieve.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide, you can reach out to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center here or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).


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