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Plus, politics erupt at the 2019 Oregon Legislature, leading to accusations of strong-arming and hypocricy

PMG FILE PHOTO - Some worry investment in multifamily housing is slowing in Oregon.Investment in multifamily housing projects fell substantially in Oregon following passage of the new statewide rent control law by the 2019 Legislature in February.

According to a June 18 article in the rental industry trade journal CoStar, investments in market rate apartment buildings in Oregon totaled $200 million in March, April and May of this year — a 38% drop from the $325 million invested during the same period last year.

Most of the decline came from out-of-state investments, according to the article.

Some developers have been predicting out-of-state investment in multifamily projects will drop because of several relatively new policies that complicate financing them, including statewide rent control and Portland programs intended to help tenants and produce more affordable housing units.

Tensions with Portland Dems at Legislature

The second Republican walkout of the 2019 Oregon Legislature revealed their displeasure with Portland-area Democrats.

The 11 Republicans in the Senate fled the state last week to deny Democrats the quorum needed to pass the controversial cap-and-trade bill that would raise energy costs. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said she would call a special session for July 2 if the Republicans don't return before June 30, when the current session must end by law.

That prompted Republican state Sen. Tim Knopp of Bend to tell the Oregon Capital Bureau, "If it's just another attempt to pass Multnomah County's policy agenda without input from our constituents, I don't think that we will be there."

For many Republicans in the Legislature, Multnomah County is the same as Portland — the most liberal city in Oregon that dominates state politics. Although Eugene and Corvallis also are liberal cities, they are not seen as having as much influence as Portland.

Politics in Salem? Shocking!

State Senate Republicans wasted no time calling Oregon Gov. Kate Brown a hypocrite for ordering the Oregon State Police to return them to the state Capitol after they walked out last week.

The Republicans noted that Brown supported House Democrats when they walked out of the 1981 Oregon Legislature to prevent passage of a legislative redistricting bill written by Republicans. The walkout lasted five days.

Brown, who was the Senate Democratic leader at the time, called the walkout "very appropriate" and suggested Senate Democrats would do the same.

"Under the circumstances, it's fair to say we would use all the tools available to us," the Associated Press quoted Brown as saying.


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