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Oregon Is 1 Step Closer To Rent Control, Restricting No-Cause Evictions

<p>Signs of disrepair at the Normandy apartments. Records show investors named Ira Virden and Charles Halladay bought the buildings for $1.9 million. &nbsp;</p>

Amelia Templeton

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Signs of disrepair at the Normandy apartments. Records show investors named Ira Virden and Charles Halladay bought the buildings for $1.9 million.  

The Oregon House voted 31-27 Tuesday to ban most no-cause evictions and to allow cities to pass local rent control ordinances.

The bill would only allow no-cause evictions under very limited circumstances for tenants who have been living in a unit at least six months.

Supporters, including Rep. Mark Meek, D-Clackamas County, said the bill addresses a matter of fairness for Oregon renters.

"I don't believe that landlords should have the ability to kick people out for any reason or no reason at all," said Meek during an hour-long debate on the House floor. "No cause evictions uproot families and create instability."

Republicans, including Oregon City Rep. Bill Kennemer, said the measure would make it harder for property owners to get rid of problem tenants and wouldn't solve the housing crunch across the state.

"Laws don't stop people from killing people. They don't stop rotten landlords from being greedy. And they don't stop irresponsible, unkind people from being bad tenants," said Kennemer.

The measure would also allow cities and counties to enact local ordinances that would control how much landlords could raise rents each year. Currently, there's a statewide ban on such ordinances.

The debate comes as many Oregon cities continue to deal with tight housing markets.

Two Democrats joined every Republican in voting against the measure. It now heads to the Oregon Senate.

Updates

April 4, 2017, 3:40 p.m. PST: This story was updated to include the result of the House vote and quotes from Oregon representatives.

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting

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.