Eugene legislative town hall considers solutions to Oregon's housing crisis

State Sen. James Manning led a town hall in Eugene Sunday, April 30, 2017 to discuss the Oregon housing crisis. He's advocating for a house bill that would eliminate no-cause evictions. (SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. – State and local politicians from across Oregon came to Eugene Sunday to discuss solutions to the affordable housing crisis in Oregon.

State Sen. James Manning led the meeting. His team is proposing House Bill 2004-A. The bill would eliminate no cause evictions; meaning property owners would be required to give a reason before handing out a 60-day eviction notice.

“A chief sponsor of House Bill 2004-A, it’s important to me that we get this thing as right as possible because this crisis is not going to go away,” Manning said.

Manning, among other politicians, spoke directly with the public about the state’s housing shortage and lack of affordable housing.

“We are talking about a 400 square foot apartment that rents to $1,350 a month,” said Lew Frederick, an Oregon Democrat.

Frederick is another backer of House Bill 2004-A and eliminating no-cause evictions.

“Often times what we are hearing, especially on our hotlines, is that more and more folks are receiving this type of eviction and they've done absolutely nothing wrong,” said Pam Phan, policy and organizing director of the Oregon Community Alliance of Tenants.

Phan said this type of eviction can devastate families around the state.

“If someone gets an eviction, their life is completely turned upside down,” Phan said.

Eviction can force someone to find a new place to live and force children to change schools.

“Things like that really affect our communities and if families don’t have stable environments, or even individuals or even college students, we have here in Lane County area, it makes it really difficult for the general economy to stay stable as well,” Phan said.

She said this type of displacement is often caused by property owners raising the price of rent after they evict because the demand for housing is so high.

At the end of the day, Manning said the bill is about treating tenants fairly.

“House bill 2004-A is a values bill it’s a personal values human bill,” he said.

The Human Services Committee must still approve House Bill 2004-A.

Some property owners and managers disagree with the bill. Manning plans to meet with them Sunday at 1 p.m. at Abby’s Pizza on Echo Hollow Road in Eugene to hear their concerns.

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