Protesters: Bill in Oregon Senate doesn’t protect tenants enough - KPTV - FOX 12

Protesters: Bill in Oregon Senate doesn’t protect tenants enough

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Protesters took to the steps of the Capitol in Salem Tuesday, demanding better protection for tenants’ rights.

The protesters said they were angry about changes made to House Bill 2004, the goal of which, protesters claimed, was to combat fallout from Oregon’s housing crisis by creating better safeguards for tenants

Demonstrators said the bill now doesn’t go far enough, especially after working through the state legislature.

Margot Black is a member of Portland Tenants United, an advocacy group that initially gave input for the creation of HB-2004.

“We need to address this problem. Displacement isn’t a joke,” she said. “Rent increases are happening. No-cause evictions are destroying families.”

Originally, Black said the bill aimed to lift the state-wide ban on rent control, require landlords to pay no-cause evicted tenants three months rent to relocate and limit rent increases to three percent.

She said the version the House passed in April, though, is watered down and ineffective.

“It’s still legal to give a $1,000 rent increase and it is still illegal for cities to do anything about that,” she said of the latest version of the bill. “That’s one of the reasons why we’re here. We just feel like that’s unconscionable.”

While the protesters want HB-2004 restored to its original form, State Senator Sara Gelser said lawmakers have to consider all sides. They want to make it fair and worthwhile for property owners to rent out living spaces, but they also want better protections for low-income, struggling families.

“A lot of times we kind of have to take part of the loaf instead of the whole loaf,” Gelser said. “But I think the proposal that came out of my committee really makes meaningful changes for tenants that they can count on right away, and we can keep working moving forward.”

The Senate will vote on the bill sometime in the next three weeks before the current legislative session comes to a close.

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