CAT’s History of Victories

CAT’s members and volunteers have counseled more than 36,500 callers to our Renters’ Rights Hotline, providing Oregon tenants with the information they need to stand up for their rights.

∞ Through our Safe Housing Project, CAT has organized more than 50 buildings throughout the Portland metro area. Residents of these buildings have received much-needed repairs by learning about their rights, working with their neighbors, and demanding that their landlord make the required repairs under the law.

∞ In 2013, CAT fought to expand housing opportunity for tenants with Section 8 vouchers, by including them as a protected class in the Fair Housing Act. As of 2014, Oregon landlords can no longer say, “I don’t accept Section 8.” We also added protections for tenants with high barriers for housing, by placing limits on how a landlord can screen a rental application. People of color and previously homeless are more likely to have high barriers to housing, and these protections will help to reduce these disparate impacts.

∞ In 2012 and 2013, in collaboration with JOIN, StreetRoots, 211info, Oregon Opportunity Network, we successfully launched the “I Support the Portland Safety Net” and “We are Safety Net” campaigns that successfully protected City of Portland housing and homeless services from $1.1 million in cuts. We also converted over $4 million in housing funding, from one-time general funds, to protected, on-going funding.

∞ In 2009 CAT won more protections for tenants in Oregon, limiting the types of fees a landlord could charge and how much they could charge. Also, tenants who have lived there for more than one year now have 60 days to move out when they receive a no-cause termination from their landlord, instead of 30 days.

∞ In 2009, in collaboration with housing advocates throughout Oregon, CAT won a new source of funding, called the Document Recording Fee, which generates over $15 million every two years for housing development, preservation and services in Oregon.

∞ In 2007 CAT and our partners in Affordable Housing NOW! (AHN!) won a 30% set-aside of urban renewal funds for affordable housing.  By 2011, this resulted in over $153 million in spending for affordable housing, and targeted up to half of the spending to housing extremely low-income people (individuals that earn less than $14,600 and families that earn less than $20,800).

∞ In 2007 CAT won commitment from the City of Portland to create a Quality Rental Housing Work Group to address “the issue of environmental health and substandard housing conditions that threaten the health and safety of low-income tenants and develop corresponding policy and program recommendations.”

∞ In 2006 CAT won an expedited system for referring landlords in Portland with outstanding code violations to code hearings.  Before this victory, units with outstanding code violations would go two years before a decision to take the landlord to a code hearing was made.  Now, any unit with fire/life/safety violations is referred to code hearing after 30 days.

∞ In 2005, CAT won expansion of Portland’s code enforcement relocation services to include tenant families getting sick as a result of mold or lead in their housing.

∞ In 2005, CAT won stronger protections for tenants from discrimination and retaliation under Oregon’s state landlord/tenant act. Landlords are now required to tell us in writing why they turn us down for housing. This makes it more difficult for landlords to refuse to rent to us for discriminatory reasons or because we successfully challenged evictions in the past.

∞ In 2002, CAT, together with two partner organizations, launched the Affordable Housing NOW! Campaign (AHN!). Over 40 organizations and hundreds of individuals signed onto AHN!’s Declaration of Support, and over the years, AHN! won more than $19 million for affordable housing programs from the City of Portland’s general fund.

∞ In 2001, CAT won passage of an affordable housing “no net loss” policy for the neighborhoods of Portland’s Central City

∞ In 2000, CAT coordinated a campaign to win $4.5 million from Portland’s general fund for affordable housing for extremely low-income households including $500,000 for Portland’s first-ever ongoing budget line-item for affordable housing.

∞ In 1999, tenants in Oregon were organized and actively involved in a state legislative session for the first time – negotiating changes to the landlord-tenant law – winning improvements for renters.  We held back initiatives to gut the Portland Preservation Ordinance and to exempt some landlords from fair housing laws that protect tenants from discrimination.

∞ In 1998, CAT, leading a coalition of 5 organizations, won the nationally groundbreaking Portland Affordable Housing Preservation Ordinance.  This ordinance is a tool with which to save the affordable homes of nearly 5,000 low-income families.