PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Tenants in affordable apartments in North Portland marched on the corporate landlords Monday after the company raised their rents by nearly 50%.
Green Cities Company gets large property tax breaks from the city for offering some of the units in their building at affordable rates. But as the housing contract is almost up, they are starting to price low-income people out.
Affordable housing tenant Jan Evelyn says she has found a quiet life at the Prescott Apartments in North Portland after domestic violence left her homeless. But now, she fears she may end up on the streets again due to her landlord raising her rent. Tenants tell KOIN 6 News that their monthly costs are increasing by $200 to $400.
“I feel like someone’s trying to take my life away from me, and I want my life back,” said Evelyn. “This is a huge impact for me because, basically, I’ve been retired. I’m 68. Guess what? I’m going to have to work again.”
Evelyn joined her fellow tenants as they marched to talk to management and delivered a letter to the company.
“We are low-income people of color, single parents, seniors with disabilities and chronic health issues,” the letter read.
The letter to Green Cities Company also says that the low-income tenants are asking Green Cities to immediately rescind these rent increase notices and publicly commit to adopting the city’s 2018 policy, limiting rent increases in city-subsidized properties to 5%.
“We are here because we can’t afford to pay this huge rent increase. They need to know and see the people that this is affecting,” said Kelsey Schreiner, a leader of the tenants union at the Prescott Apartments. “It has made my life extremely stressful. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to finish school, I don’t know what’s going to happen with my kid next year, I don’t know where we’re going to go.”
They’ve given Green Cities Company until the end of the week, September 30, to respond.
“They’re going to hear from us again,” Schreiner said.
KOIN 6 News has reached out to Green Cities Company multiple times over the last week, but the company has not responded.
Commissioner Dan Ryan previously promised that he will help find a solution.