Letters for March 7
It isn't easy to share personal information about what happened to me and my family. But it has been nearly two years since the city of Milwaukie declared a housing emergency for our city, and not enough has been done. Low vacancy rates, skyrocketing rents and desperate people who have been priced out of Portland have created a crisis situation for renters like me.
This is my story. While I have a home today, I live under constant uncertainty that I could lose it at any moment because it has happened before. I am one of the many renters in Oregon who has been evicted through no fault of our own. And if you have ever had a double-digit rent hike or been evicted without cause, this is your story, too.
In 2016, as I was home recovering from surgery, I went to get the mail and noticed a piece of paper tacked to the wall outside my door. It was a 60-day notice to vacate my home. There was no cause listed. I had never heard any concerns from my landlord or my neighbors. This notice arrived completely out of the blue. I am an Air National Guard veteran and mother of three who has always prided myself on being responsible and meeting my commitments. But because Oregon law allows evictions without cause for everyone, I had no options. I had to move.
Priority No. 1 was finding a place I could afford in Milwaukie so my son wouldn't have to change schools in the middle of the year. But that was difficult and ultimately I ended up paying $400 more a month. And like many working families, I was not sitting on a pile of cash to pay first and last month's rent, application fees and a deposit. If I had not had assistance from the Clackamas County Veterans Services Division for financial and emotional assistance during that terrible time, I don't know what I would have done.
Today we have an apartment that is more than we were paying before, but we are one of the lucky families who is able to make that work. That isn't true for too many families. The financial burden of a no-cause eviction forces them out of their homes and too often out of our community. People have to pull their kids out of school and move further away from their jobs. And that is if they are lucky. Nearly 400 children were identified as homeless in the North Clackamas School District in the annual survey released by the Oregon Department of Education last year. That is a shocking and heartbreaking statistic for our community.
Across the state, renters are starting to come together to make sure that their voices are heard when local and state officials make decisions about housing policies that affect us. If you have a story to tell, I hope you will join me in telling it through Stable Homes for Oregon Families. There you will find a web form where you can tell your story and have a voice: stablehomesor.org.
We love guns too!
The kids surviving another gun slaughter implored the Florida Legislature to act on gun control to no avail last month.
That's beyond disgusting for politicians to pay homage to the gun industry above the lives of children. However, it's not just happening 3,000 miles from us; it's here as well.
If we the people earnestly want to stop this murderous rampage in our schools, churches, malls, streets and theaters, we must begin with our own state legislature. Oregon has few gun laws to protect its citizens.
Our legislators hide behind the 2nd Amendment's present-day interpretation that all guns are sacrosanct beyond any type of regulations. However, up until the National Rifle Association's radical change in the 1970s, all types of guns were not available to every American household. The leadership of the NRA went from gun safety — hunters and target shooters' well being — to pushing armor piecing, multiple rounds and assault rifles, killer weapons useless for targeting or hunting. Most of all they provided money to bribe and elect prostituted individuals running for office.
My state senator has gone on record of approving "no limits to guns, magazines or ammunition." Reprehensible!
We who respect children's rights to live out their dreams must vote these scoundrels out of office come November.