Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Montavilla’s St. Peter & Paul Episcopal Church, 8147 SE Pine (at 82nd)
From Ideas to Action As East Portland Faces Extinction — Socialist Alternative Hosts a Second “Rent Control Town Hall” on May 5th
A second public discussion on housing justice issues, focused on the rent crisis in Portland and the affordable housing being demolished on the city’s East Side, will be the subject of a town hall meeting scheduled for 7:00 PM Tuesday May 5th in Montavilla’s St. Peter & Paul Episcopal Church, 8147 SE Pine (at 82nd).
Event organizers intend to frame the meeting as a “next step” in a grassroots struggle for affordable housing and specifically to promote a comprehensive, city-wide rent control law. Taking a model from the highly successful organizing of 15NowPDX, Socialist Alternative’s second Rent Control Town Hall event will be the launch of a summer-long signature-gathering campaign, targeting 2,000 signatures by Labor Day.
Voices Needing To Be Heard
In many ways Portland’s farther east side neighborhoods have become ground zero for the process of gentrification and displacement, as by now close-in districts are left with virtually no housing opportunities for working class and low-income people not on assistance. For this second event, organizers have purposely chosen to hold the town hall at an East Side location, in an effort to be more accessible to residents of what are among the last affordable areas in the city.
The East Side: Demolitions and Rent Hikes
Citizen outrage at both the widespread demolition of affordable older homes and at increasingly common rent-hikes is reaching notable proportions. Street-level activism — reflected by numerous events such as renters assemblies, forums, and the Rent Control Town Halls — is clearly showing its capacity to expand on the highly visible fight for higher wages to include the issue of justice on the housing front as well.
It is in neighborhoods around 82nd Avenue, and further east, where home demolitions are most concentrated – clearly because it is here that modest houses on sizable lots, many of them rentals, can be bought cheaply, demolished overnight, and swiftly replaced with larger or multiple houses fetching prices that are at a record high in Portland’s currently white-hot real estate market. The housing bubble has returned and prices aren’t all that has recovered: volume and speed of sales are now, breathtakingly, at levels mirroring what we saw just prior to the economic crash of 2008. Still, for many, Eastside neighborhoods like Montavilla, Parkrose, Lents, Mt. Scott or Brentwood-Darlington represent the only possibilities of finding an affordable place to live in any reasonable proximity to workplaces, grocery stores, churches and schools.
Shared Sense of Crisis
A widely shared sense of crisis exists among worried renters, working class and young people seeing diminished opportunities, and older residents unhappy with rapid changes to neighborhood character. Eastsiders concerned about these issues will have another chance to share their ideas and get resources on organizing resistance at the next Rent Control Town Hall. Admission as before will be free and refreshments will be served.