In recent weeks, Portland City Hall has pledged to halt—or at least slow—the city's breakneck rise in rents.
Mayor Charlie Hales declared a citywide housing emergency Sept. 23. A week later, he pledged $20 million in city money to fund shelters and affordable housing. City Commissioner Dan Saltzman is calling for landlords to provide a 90-day notice of any rent hike higher than 10 percent.
Streetcar Charlie talks a great fight, but nobody's minding the store: Back in 2007, the city of Portland built a 100-unit apartment complex near Multnomah Village because "affordable housing". Rents there just increased by nearly 20% to an average of $1200 a month, which has caused people to leave. Understandably, as that's just slightly less than our mortgage on a 3 BR house with 2.5 baths and some land and a double-car garage - but the city was planning to charge people that much to rent an apartment in a city-owned building.
Well, they were:
After years of rent increases in the low single digits, the Headwaters' residents were recently asked to absorb hikes of nearly 20 percent to keep their leases.
That kind of spike is contrary to the city's stated intention of providing affordable housing at the Headwaters—and, WW has learned, it caught city officials unaware. WW asked city officials about the rent hikes this week. Mayoral spokeswoman Sara Hottman said Hales was traveling and would defer comment on the Headwaters to Housing Commissioner Saltzman.
On Oct. 6, Saltzman's housing adviser, Shannon Callahan, said no one at City Hall, including Saltzman, knew about the steep Headwaters rent hike.
"The rent increase is being rescinded immediately," Callahan tells WW.
My. They didn't know about a big rate hike on an apartment building they own. But they're all about "affordable housing". But now that a media outlet has brought it up, they're going to leap into action. Dang, they got caught.
Really builds a lot of confidence in government management, doesn't it?