Media Room

REMARKS AS PREPARED
April 1, 2016

Thank you everyone for being here today.

I want to acknowledge the many people here who worked in coalition to help these bills arrive at my desk for signature.

First, I want to thank the legislators and their staff members who carried these bills:

Speaker Kotek
Senator Dembrow
Representative Gorsek
Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer
Staff: Andie Short, Jen Corbridge, and Logan Gilles [JAI-ILLES]

I also want to thank the organizations, lobbyists and community members who worked to support these bills. Thank you for sharing your stories with legislators, organizing your members, and sticking with the commitment to find a path to get these bills passed. Your passion and commitment are inspiring. Additionally, I want to acknowledge the partners from industry and advocates who came together to find common ground.

Affordable housing matters.  It matters to Susan Dooley who is a resident here at Gray’s Landing. Susan served our country in the Air Force and is a Vietnam Veteran. After leaving the Air Force, Susan worked in banking for 13 years. In her mid-50s she was laid off and struggled to find work and soon couldn’t pay her bills.  She struggled to find housing she could afford and moved several times while on the wait list for Gray’s Landing.   

A year ago, she was able to move into one of the units with a VA rent subsidy. And this has made all of the difference: she can take the tram to her medical appointments at the VA, she is part of the community here where she attends potlucks and joined the sewing group.  She has a safe place for her grandsons to come and visit.

Susan has more than a home. She has a community now.
    
I want to thank REACH CDC for hosting here at Gray’s Landing. This location serves as an inspiration for urban communities. Amidst incredible access to higher education, transportation, green space, and jobs, there is a mix of homes affordable to a range of incomes. Medical professionals, students, veterans who were formerly homeless, and service sector employees have the opportunity to live in the south waterfront because of the mix of private sector housing and the homes here at Gray’s Landing.

As you all know, we entered the 2016 legislative session facing unprecedented housing challenges. I’m proud to say that with the passage of these bills, we will be able to make progress toward our goals of ensuring that hardworking families have safe and affordable homes.

SB 1582 – In 2015, the Legislature and I championed a new investment in affordable housing and, in this session, we passed policy guidelines for the Local Innovation and Fast Track Housing program (LIFT) in SB 1582. The $40 million investment in LIFT will provide much needed funding to increase our housing supply in Oregon with an emphasis on rural communities, people of color, and families receiving services at the Department of Human Services.

SB 1533 – With the passage of SB 1533, local communities now have more tools to incentivize mixed income communities. This bill lifts the pre-emption on inclusionary zoning and allows local communities to create a new resource for housing development through the construction excise tax.

HB 4043 – Tenants in Oregon will now be protected from rent increases during the first year of tenancy. This bill also protects tenants from sudden increases in their rent by requiring 90 days’ notice for any rent increases. Housing markets are increasingly competitive while vacancy rates are extremely low throughout Oregon. These modest protections will provide some help in this market.

We know that to succeed, you need a home. We are making progress, but our work is not done. I look forward to continued collaboration and commitment to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to live in safe, stable, and affordable homes.