Citizens and locally elected officials rally for renters rights bill

Sign in support of HB 2004 (KTVL/Alexander Mesadieu)

Medford, Ore- Citizens and elected officials from across the Rogue Valley gathered in downtown Medford on Wednesday to rally for House Bill 2004.

The bill would give extra protections to renters and put more restrictions on some landlords.

Some those protections include stopping landlords from kicking out tenants who are on a month to month lease within 60 days after tenants requests certain repairs.

The bill would also make it illegal for landlords to increase rent on more than one occasion during any 12 month period.

It would also require fixed term tenancy to be at least 6 months unless tenants request a shorter term.

Some locally elected officials believe if this house bill does not pass, Oregon will feel a serious impact.

"Right now Oregon is in a position where people really can't wait for another 2 years, until the next legislative session, to get some reprieve from housing and stability. We need action now. We need this to go to vote on the senate floor so people can have that relief," said Phoenix City Council member Sarah Westover.

The bill has already passed the Oregon house with 31 yes votes and 27 no votes. Every yes vote was from a Democrat. All Oregon house Republicans voted no on HB 2004 as well as 2 Oregon Democrats.

In our area representatives Sal Esquivel, E. Werner Reschke, Duane Stark, and Carl Wilson, all voted against the bill.

Representative Pam Marsh voted for this bill.

News 10 reached out to several local representatives who voted no on this bill. Representative Duane Stark's office sent us the following statement:

Kay Brooks of the Medford City Council, Ashland Mayor John Stromberg, Ashland City Councilor Dennis Slattery, Sarah Westover, and Talent City Councilors Emily Berlant and Stephanie Dolan all wrote a joint letter to Oregon Senate leaders urging them to support the bill.

In the letter they state that as locally elected officials the most urgent issue they hear about from constituents is that families need relief and security in their struggle to keep a safe, stable place to call home. They cite statistics from the Oregon Housing Alliance such as one in every three renters in Jackson County is already paying 50 percent of their monthly income towards rental costs. The letter concludes with the statement "please do not leave Salem without taking this simple common-sense step to protect our families and pass HB-2004-C. Oregon's renters deserve the basic right of housing stability.

Read the full bill text here:

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