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To protect renters, lawmakers in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco are pressing for temporary eviction bans. Is PDX next?

OPB PHOTO - Commissioner Chloe Eudaly speaks at a press conference in favor of a temporary eviction moratorium on March 13, 2020, in Portland, Ore. Calls are mounting in Portland for elected officials to temporarily ban evictions, as the coronavirus pandemic throws the ability of low-wage workers to make their next rent payment into question.

A petition asking for an eviction ban, created by local renter's rights group Portland Tenants United, has collected more than 3,500 signatures in the last five days — including that of city Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. Portland mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone has joined the push, calling on the city to stop evictions for those who can notify their landlords ahead of time that they can't make rent.

"This is just one example of the economic devastation that's coming," Eudaly warned. She said the city has asked city attorneys for a "legal analysis" to determine whether the city has the power to ban evictions.

In a statement, Deborah Imse, the head of landlord trade group Multifamily NW, urged city and state leaders to provide "meaningful, financial relief to renters and housing providers alike" over the next two months, but stopped short of supporting a ban on evictions, which, she said, would make "no sense" if it "leads to a wave of foreclosures on rental properties."

The City Council is entertaining the idea. Commissioner Amanda Fritz's senior policy director, Claire Adamsick, said the office is considering it. In a statement, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said she's "open to the idea" — which she said exemplifies the "creative, humane thinking" necessary during this time — "but has more questions." A spokesperson for the office of Mayor Ted Wheeler, which has taken the lead on the potential ban, said the mayor's open to all options and is consulting with colleagues.

Eudaly, a vocal champion of renters rights, has come out the strongest in favor of a ban. At a press conference Friday organized by Portland Tenants United, Eudaly told reporters she was "urging [her] colleagues at every level of government" to try to keep people housed during the crisis.

Click here to read the rest of the story by OPB, a news partner of the Portland Tribune.


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