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Housing Measures Move Forward In Oregon Legislature

A view of the west side of the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.
A view of the west side of the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.

Two measures aimed at protecting low-income Oregonians from rising housing costs are moving forward in the state legislature.

A bill that would reverse Oregon's nearly two-decade old ban on inclusionary zoning laws is headed to the Senate floor. Inclusionary zoning is when governments require developers to include low-income housing options in new developments. Oregon law prevents local governments from passing those kinds of laws and this bill would overturn that ban.

Another bill approved on the House floor would prevent landlords from increasing the rent for the first year for tenants on month-to-month leases. Supporters include Democratic Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer.

"This one little bill is absolutely not going to solve the crisis at all,” Keny-Guyer said. “It aims to increase stability and predictability for tenants in a really hot, hot market."

After the first year, landlords would have to give 90-days notice for a rent hike. That's up from the current 30-day required notice.

Opponents, including Republican Representative Jim Weidner, said the measure would do little to ease housing pressures. "This bill doesn't do it. This is a feel-good bill," Weidner said.

The measure now heads to the Oregon Senate.

Copyright 2016 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman covers the Oregon state capitol for JPR as part of the Northwest News Network, a group of 12 Northwest public radio organizations which collaborate on regional news coverage. Chris graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He began his career producing arts features for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana and has been a reporter/announcer for NPR station WNIJ in DeKalb, Illinois. Chris has also reported from overseas, filing stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda.
Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.