SALEM, Ore. — Dozens of people rallied outside the state capitol Thursday to show their support for House Bill 2004.
It would ban no-cause evictions on the state level, with four exceptions, and give local elected officials more say over how their towns and cities craft rental policies, among other measures.
Alison McIntosh of the Oregon Housing Alliance said this shouldn't be called rent control - it's something else entirely.
"Rent stabilization today is really designed to slow the rate and speed of rent increases. It's really good at preventing rent displacement," McIntosh said.
McIntosh says the issues Portland faces might not be what other cities deal with. That's why she supports more power to shape rental policy at the local level.
"We know our local jurisdictions have very different housing markets from one another and what works in Portland may not work for Bend or Eugene, and the important thing is to let local elected officials the ability to study their markets, study their options and make the best decisions for their communities.
Landlords like Adela Price of Salem testified too.
"I was once a homeless person and living in a homeless shelter," Price said of her past.
Now she owns a pair of duplexes. She worries Salem could follow Portland's lead and force landlords to pay moving expenses for certain tenants.
"I'm sorry. If I have to pay the relocation fee I will go bankrupt. This means my son and I will go back on the street into a homeless shelter," Price said as she fought back tears.
She says no-cause evictions can be a safer way for her tenants to report problems with other renters. If she tried to evict a problem tenant for cause, she would need to prove her case and provide supporting evidence, including names of those who are upset with the problem tenant.
"I had to protect my sources because of retaliation," Price said of when she evicted a tenant for drug use. "At that moment I had to hire two body guards to go with me just to post the notice. We have to remember, retaliation can be deadly."
The bill hasn't made it out of committee yet. It needs approval by the house and senate before Governor Brown can vote on it.