You’re Being Heard at Hearings for Housing Opportunity

There’s no time to waste in taking action for housing opportunity, and the Oregon Legislature got right to work this, hearing bills for tenant protections and inclusionary zoning on Monday, February 1—the first day of session. The hearings for House Bill 4001 and Senate Bill 1533 were filled with some incredibly powerful testimony from community members who have been affected by no cause evictions, rent increases, and retaliation for requesting repairs or maintenance.

More than 90 people submitted written testimony in support of tenant protections, and we had a great turnout of supporters at the hearings themselves. Elected officials from around the state spoke to how the proposed solutions would give them tools to address the housing crisis they see every day in their communities. Legislators heard from educators, health care professionals, and service providers on the broad and personal impact of housing instability. And we also heard how these policies were workable: a Bend landlord explained how the proposed tenant protections were reasonable and balanced, while a developer and realtor spoke to how inclusionary zoning is feasible in the private sector.

But the most powerful testimony came from brave community members who told their own heart-wrenching stories of how housing instability had impacted their families. These deeply personal stories were a moving reminder for legislators–and all of us–that action for housing opportunity cannot wait.

And thanks to all of us, we’re off to a great start to the 2016 session. You can see our live tweet recap, watch the entire HB 4001 and SB 1533 hearings online, or check out some highlights below.


Stephanie Smith, Klamath Tribe member

“My partner and child build homes, but we can’t afford to live in one.”


Ted Wheeler, Oregon State Treasurer

“None of our goals can be accomplished, and none of our families can thrive without a safe place to go home.”


Brenda Fox, Principal, Lane Middle School

Principal Fox wrote a heartbreaking–and inspiring–letter to her student who had become homeless.


Jack Rinn, Bend landlord

“Is 30 days reasonable to find another unit in housing markets with incredibly low vacancy rates? No.”