#EvictionFree2016: against retaliation, against discrimination

As Portland slips into a declared "renter state of emergency," tenants are being pushed out of the city as rents skyrocket and greedy landlords strip renters of their stability and voice. Now, Portland Tenants United, the newest tenants union in Portland, is launching a citywide campaign with a rally and march geared to take the tenant rights movement to the next level.

Submitted by Eviction Free Zone on January 11, 2016

Portland is in a housing state of emergency. Our city and state have only recently acknowledged this crisis, but, but non- property owners have felt the impact of inadequate tenant protections for years. The landlords and property managers claim they are not to blame for our dramatic rent increases, or for evicting us without cause and without accountability -- that it is because there is not enough supply.

Retaliatory and discriminatory evictions and rent increases are illegal, but they are common and the burden of proof is on the tenant (as is the financial burden of securing legal counsel).  And the risk to the tenant is high. The most vulnerable populations are being impacted, which are our elderly and the disabled, those with complex and chronic health issues, victims of domestic violence, our low-income families and single parents, those with Section 8 vouchers, our veterans, our LGBTQ, and of course, people of color.
It is time for Portland’s tenants to take action on these issues -- to demand accountability from our landlords and bold solutions from our government.

Portland Tenants United (PTU) will organize metro area tenants to take collective action toward housing security, in the form of rent stabilization and a ban on no-cause evictions.  PTU aims to create a strong tenants’ union model that organizes tenants in the way that labor organizes workers. However, organizing tenants is made much more challenging by virtue of the very real threat of displacement.  Consequently, we are launching our organization and campaign, both to support community groups and allied organizations, and to address the housing and discrimination crisis directly.    The theme of January’s rally and march is “ Eviction- Free 2016: End Discrimination and Retaliation.”

The rally will begin at 4:30pm in front of City Hall where housing, tenant, and labor organizations will speak out about how the rental crisis is affecting the working-class inhabitants of Portland. From there, hundreds of marchers will take to the streets, and bridges, to make the city hear the collective voice and action of its renters. Labor unions, community groups, non-profits, students, and renters are joining together, and this will be one of the largest joint actions in recent memory. This is the beginning of a massive tenant movement in Portland, which is just bubbling under the surface.

WHAT: Housing Justice Rally and March
WHERE: Starting City Hall
WHEN: January 15th, 4:30 pm
WHO: Portland Tenants United; [email protected]