This year has been an historic one.
Thanks to you, we’ve made more progress in advancing stronger tenant protections than many would have ever imagined. It is no secret that we still have a ways to go, but we are farther than we have ever gone. Ringing in our 22nd year of service to Oregon, I wanted to share a few highlights of the things we’ve been able to accomplish together in 2017 and give you a preview of things to come.
On the heels of momentous wins for renter-protections across the state in 2016, we started 2017 strong! In the 2017 legislative session and for the first time ever, labor, housing advocates, business, environmental justice and many more across the spectrum locked arms to push for statewide tenant protections. We demanded an end to the practice of unfair no-cause terminations by mandating the use of current and new commonsense just-cause standards. We demanded the removal of the ban on rent-stabilization in local cities. Thousands of you across Oregon dedicated time and effort to call, write, show up in person, testify and more. This unity in action helped these policies pass the Oregon House of Representatives in April – a first time in the history of Oregon! Though the Oregon Senate chose to keep the status quo and didn’t pass these policies into law, together we sent a message that is very clear: we demand that our laws mandate fair treatment for renters and we will not quit until that is a reality! This coming year, be on the lookout for ways to advance stronger protections across the state and to gear up for the 2019 legislative session.
We’re coming back stronger than ever.
In February, CAT hired its first-ever Statewide Organizer, Jesse Sharpe, who helps to oversee organizing in Southern Oregon in Jackson and Coos Counties. This is a huge step for CAT as many of our members across the state have been working toward this end for many years. As we move into 2018, keep your eyes peeled for more organizers on the ground in other cities across the state.
Thanks to the support of Meyer Memorial Trust, Social Justice Fund Northwest, Northwest Health Foundation, and many others, our Tenant Leadership Council spent 2017 conducting groundbreaking community-based participatory research centering the stories of those of us most-impacted by the housing crisis. We believe that our experiences as most-impacted community members positions us to offer some of the richest wisdom and resiliency to guide future policy-making. In Spring of 2018, we will release a report that consolidates the information the TLC gathered in this research project. Our hope is that this report will give significant voice to our ideas and insight, and add to the growing list of bodies of research to support future housing advocacy.
Mark our words, 2018 will be another momentous year. We declare it as the #YearoftheRenter!
Our sights are set on some pretty big goals, and we’ll need your help to make them happen. We hope to continue strengthening our infrastructure for continued feet-on-the-ground expansion in other cities across Oregon. We’ll be working hard to join forces with educators to make sure young people have more knowledge when entering into the rental market. We’ll be looking to you for advice on the best times to open up the hotline for longer operating
hours and how to make our Tenant Support arm most useful. Your presence and leadership will be critical as we advance policies centered on regional coordination of tenant services and critical budget investments from the State to make sure it is easier to get to the landlord-tenant knowledge and services we seek. We’ll be looking for your support to send a strong message to current and aspiring elected leaders that their commitment to renter stability is critical if they want to be successful. Finally, and as always, we’ll have to continue banding together as neighbors to demand safety and stability in our homes by organizing together, pushing back against unjust rent-increases and evictions, asserting our rights and human dignity.
Most importantly, we hope you hear our most heartfelt thank yous for your time, effort, and unwavering generous support.
Together, we have made 2017 a memorable year for renters. It will be because of you that we will spend 2018 in a strong position to continue building Tenant Power together throughout ALL OF OREGON! Thank you!