The interesting thing about this picture is that it was taken on a Thursday. They're not working; they're marching through the state capitol in Salem and demanding "renter's rights". Exactly how one pays the rent without working seems a bit of a mystery. But Tina Kotek (D-Connecticut) is going to fix things with more government regulation:
Thus, House Speaker Tina Kotek's announcement earlier this month that she plans to introduce legislation to lift the rent-control ban. She also aims to impose a statewide moratorium on rent increases above "reasonable" levels to provide tenants relief among other possible fixes.
There's just one critical shortcoming. Rent control, several economists said, is exactly what you don't want to ensure affordable housing in the long term.
The problem lies not with "greedy landlords" but with government policies. Here in the Portland area, the regional layer of government known as Metro decided not to expand the urban growth boundary, even though doing so would free up space for construction of those little ticky-tacky apartment bunkers that they're so fond of.
The recommended update says 123,000 additional housing units can be built in Portland without harming livability if 80 percent are in multifamily buildings constructed primarily in downtown, designated urban centers, and along major transportation corridors. The remaining 20 percent would be constructed in existing residential neighborhoods.
In Portland city limits, commissioners have increased systems development charges, restricted multi-family housing in close-in neighborhoods, demanded parking minimums and passed a law requiring that older homes be painstakingly deconstructed rather than demolished.
Actually, they've doubled SDCs over the past five years, preserved legacy lot sizes in areas where the politicians reside, added expensive new permitting and rules regarding tree removal or modification, raised the cost of fuel, and added a host of other regulations.
Apparently it has never occurred to them that they, themselves, are a big part of the reason why there's a housing shortage and the rents are so high - they keep adding costs and conditions for development. About a mile and a half down the hill from us, a developer was able to add four small new homes - but under new city regulations, he had to dig a trench along the road in front of the homes, build a concrete pond in the trench, fill the pond with dirt, and plant city-approved sedges and other plants to filter stormwater. These add to the costs of home construction.
And of course the renters living in the apartment bunkers and other rental housing in the area do themselves no favors, as every time there's a new property tax (bond measure) on the ballot, they vote it in. And then they wonder why their rents go up.