Portland Winter Light Festival 2017

Wall of Us – This Week Better: Feb 5, 2017

City Issues & Ideas, Take Action

Another long week. The new administration seems intent on creating chaos. They’re checking things off their list that have to do with a fear agenda — unconstitutional Muslim ban, helping big business, rolling back protection for citizens, the environment etc. What has been done in the first two week that helps the average citizen? Nothing. Healthcare or education? Nope. Safety or economic relief/jobs related? Nope.

The good news is that the majority of people in the US (and World) don’t agree with what Trump is doing – just like the majority of American’s didn’t vote for him. The last couple weeks have also been a wakeup call for a lot of people and I think we’re getting more vocal and active then ever. I love what the site Wall of Us is doing, and they have a page to track the good things that have happened from collective citizens standing up for democracy.

What I’m reading and doing this week:

Portland landlords must pay relocation costs to evict tenants without cause – Portland City Council passed a new housing policy this week that requires landlords [with more than one rental] to pay the tenants it evicts without cause. The amount is $2,900 (studio) to $4,500 (3 bedroom) given to tenants who they evict without cause or who have to move as a result of a rent increase of 10 percent or more in one year. The full policy is here. I agree with the intent of the ordinance, but I have a lot of questions.

Some of the wording from the city and journalists around this policy is misleading or just confusing! The policy is for landlords with more than one property, and I’m still not sure who it impacts as the policy fact sheet says it doesn’t impact tenants whose lease started before the ordinance passed, but the OregonLive article says “it applies to all tenants, including those who have received a 90-day eviction notice within the last 89 days.”

Overall, as a previous renter, landlord, and home-owner this policy concerns me a bit. First, it paints landlords as the enemy of renters – that they’re rich, soul-less, and money-hungry. I’ve been a landlord to a spectrum of tenants and I’ve been a renter from a spectrum of landlords. Nuance. Try it! Second, I think that most landlords aren’t getting rich off anyone (thankfully this policy doesn’t impact single-tenant landlords). From my experience, there are a lot of people who are “accidental landlords” after moving or bad market timing, they’re just barely making their rental mortgage payments, so any extra profit is often going to increased property taxes (property taxes went up 4.5% on average in 2015), repairs etc. Third, there’s a lot of vague wiggle room in this policy. So it’s for only single-tenant landlords – how do you prove this? How is this enforced? Is it up to the renter to file a claim with the city? Does it go through the court system? What if the landlord doesn’t pay?

DO: Ask our Mayor Ted Wheeler and champion of the Relocation Assistance Ordinance Commissioner Chloe Eudaly to create an example sheet and FAQ of what this policy looks like in impacting real people. For example: have 10 different use cases from both the tenant and landlord perspective – how the policy works, what happens when and how etc.


Portland Winter Light Festival
– In the depths of winter we could all use a little light. 😉 Last year was the first I had heard of the Winter Light Festival, and it was such a fun event to meander through. It’s a really interesting combo of art and science into light (and often sound). They had another festival for 2017 and it seemed even bigger than last year.

DO: It’s over for this year, but check out PDXWLF


Wall of Us
– As mentioned above in the intro, I love what these ladies are doing. Each week they post a list of Weekly Acts of Resistance. “To make it simply irresistible for Americans to become active participants in rebuilding our democracy.”

DO: Check out this week’s items and do one! Specifically this week, I’m planning to continue this one.

 

John Stewart Reads Trump’s Next Batch of Executive Orders – It felt good to have a laugh with John Stewart again. “No one action will be adequate. All actions will be necessary. And if we do not allow Donald Trump to exhaust our fight, and somehow come through this presidency calamity-less and, constitutionally, partially intact, then I, Donald J. Trump, will have demonstrated the greatness of America — just not the way I thought I was gonna.” –John Stewart as Trump

This Week’s Actions: This week, I sent emails, called, Tweeted @, and signed petitions to my Senators and House rep, and a Senate committee about issues that were important this week; emailed and Tweeted @ a few companies that I use that haven’t taken a stand on the Muslim Ban. I tried and failed to stay off Facebook, but did post comments addressing lies and fake information as I felt comfortable with; and started reading Rest in Power – The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin.

 

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” –Albert Einstein

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