Renters protest lack of rights in downtown Portland

Renters rally for housing justice

PORTLAND, Ore. – Frustrated renters took to the streets of Portland Friday afternoon to shed light on the lack of protections for tenants.

The rally and march started at 4:30 p.m. in front of Portland City Hall. Members of local housing, tenant and labor organizations are slated to speak at the rally before marching through downtown.

The rally, organized by Portland Tenants United, specifically protested “discriminatory and retaliatory housing practices, which tenants claim result in unsafe living conditions, involuntary displacement, economic destabilization, and high barriers to securing safe housing,” according to a press release.

"You have tenants who are sick of being priced out by landlords, evicted for reporting repairs or violations by property management companies and you're seeing landlords profiteering off of a shortage," said Gabriel Erbs, organizer and spokesperson for Portland Tenants United.

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Renters in Portland have few protections compared to some other U.S. cities. There is no rent control or inclusionary zoning. The city recently declared a State of Emergency to help expedite affordable housing initiatives, including eviction prevention. 

The city also enacted a 90-day notice requirement for landlords who want to raise rents more than 5 percent or evict tenants, up from a 30-day notice.

"There's a climate of fear right now among people, it's really distressing," said Guy Berliner, who lives in East Portland.

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But members of the Portland Tenants United believe that’s not enough.

“It’s time to end no-cause evictions,” said activist Chelsea DeLoney. “They are nothing but a guise for legalized retaliation and legalized discrimination.”

Organizer Gabriel Erbs of the Portland Tenants United said he expected about 350 people at the rally.

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