Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick says the plan is too ambitious for the Legislature's 35-day session.

PARIS ACHEN - Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, and Senate Majority Whip Elizabath Steiner Hayward, D-Beaverton, discuss Senate Democrats' priorities for 2016.An omnibus bill to address the state’s affordable housing crisis is unlikely to pass during the Legislature’s 35-day session that began Monday, according the Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, D-Portland.

“There really is a crisis out there,” said Burdick, a longtime legislator who represents Tigard and Portland. “People are being thrown out of their apartments. It’s a very serious problem in Portland, so I would hope to do at least something on it, but it won’t be the omnibus bill. It’s just to ambitious for 35 days.”

Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, D-Portland, chairwoman of the House Committee on Human Services and Housing, proposed the housing package after public testimony in November. The testimony highlighted that a shortage of affordable housing and no-cause evictions have exacerbated homelessness and poor living conditions in the state.

The package, which also is championed by House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, includes restricting no-cause evictions and requiring landlords to give 90 days’ notice before terminating a lease or raising rent on a tenant.

PARIS ACHEN - Alissa Keny-Guyer, D-Portland, chairwoman of the House Committee on Human Services and HousingIt would exempt property owners from capital gains taxes when they sell their property to a housing authority.

It would yield an estimated $5 million by increasing the states’ document recording fee to $30 from $20.

Keny-Guyer also is seeking $10 million for emergency housing assistance and $17.5 million in lottery bonds to preserve affordable housing by compensating for expiring federal rental assistance contracts or matured federal loans.

Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, chairman of the Senate workforce committee, has resurrected a bill that would repeal a ban on requiring developers to include affordable housing units in their new developments. That practice is known as inclusionary zoning. He made a similar proposal last year. That proposal died in the Senate.

Dembrow's proposal received strong support during a public hearing Monday in front of the House Committee on Human Services and Housing. About a dozen speakers spoke in favor of the measure.

Burdick, who was named majority leader last year, said lawmakers need to narrow the legislation down to one or two measures that can make the most difference. It's unclear whether lawmakers can agree on what those one or two items might be.

“I would say personally one of my biggest concerns in this regard is the issue of tenants being afraid to complain to landlords about unsafe conditions in their housing because of our no-cause eviction law in Oregon,” said Senate Majority Whip Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Beaverton. “They’re basically very worried that if they complain about mold or poor ventilation or any of the other conditions we know contribute to poor health that they could be given a no-cause eviction notice and be out of a place to live.”

By Paris Achen
Portland Tribune Capital Bureau Reporter
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