The Oregon State Senate is close to a vote on a controversial bill that would open the door to sweeping protections for renters.

House Bill 2004, currently being considered in the Senate Human Services Committee, would effectively end no cause evictions state-wide, and also remove the state's prohibition on rent control.

If the bill passes, it would allow municipalities and local governments to enact caps on rent increases.

On May 3, dozens of people signed up to testify at a public hearing on the bill.

"If we don't share our stories with our legislators, we're going to be living and re-living the trauma that these no cause evictions happen to us," said Patti Jay, who received a no-cause eviction in 2016 while she was recovering from surgery.

Jay testified before the Senate committee in favor of the bill.

"That feeling that I was out of control, that I was being forced out of our home. My children would have to find another place to live, that we would have to pay more rent. That feeling of desperation is a feeling I never want to feel again," said Jay.

On the other side of the debate, many property owners and property managers are strongly opposed to HB 2004.

"It's a bad deal for the tenants, and of course, it's a bad deal for housing providers. It will make housing more expensive," said Michael Feves, a Portland landlord.

Feves believes the bill would limit his opportunity to make a living, and make it nearly impossible to get rid of problem tenants.

"It's very difficult to prove a for-cause action. It's expensive. Thousands of dollars in attorney fees to do a for-cause action," said Feves.

The bill has already passed in the House of Representatives, but needs to make it through the Senate to get to the Governor's desk.

Democratic Senator James Manning, who represents the Eugene and Junction City areas, said he was exposed to housing insecurity as a child, which prompted him to testify in support of the bill.

"It doesn't do a lot of things that a lot of people thought," said Manning. "Thinking that we're going to inflict rent controls and we're going to do all of these things here. No. It's the beginning of a long overdue conversation on how we address the homelessness issues that we have."

A work session on HB 2004 has not yet been scheduled.

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