PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Cindy Murphy is one of many locals who have been impacted by Portland’s increasing rent prices, and will continue to be impacted as long as the trend continues.

On Tuesday, KOIN 6 News reported that Oregon’s annual cap on monthly rent will increase to 14.9% in 2023. In 2022, the rent cap was 9.9%. 

Before retiring in 2014, Murphy was a teacher in an Ohio school district for 27 years. She didn’t initially plan to move away from Northeast Ohio and its more affordable housing, but she relocated to Portland in 2017 to be closer to her son and his family.

“I was shocked when I came out here,” Murphy said. “I stayed with my son and his family for about four years, and then moved into an apartment just last year and was pretty floored by how much I could afford.” 

Murphy currently lives in a studio apartment in Portland that is about 340 square feet and costs approximately $1,300, not including utilities. Although she is a self-proclaimed minimalist, she admits that a bigger space would be a better fit than her studio if it weren’t for the bigger price tag to match.

“When you invite your friends over, they’re in your bedroom and that’s a little weird,” she said. “I have a fantastic view of downtown Portland, but it’s just so small. I’d like to get into a one bedroom, have a little privacy when people come over.”

Outside of the little compensation she receives from teaching at a local community college, she supports herself through the benefits she receives from being a retired teacher and a widow.

“What happened with our pension system — it’s happening with lots of pensions across the country—  is they’ve stopped giving cost-of-living allowances,” she said. “I haven’t had an increase in eight years, so it’s a big impact on how much I can spend on rent.”

According to a recent study from apartment search engine ApartmentGuide.com, Portland was high on the list of cities where residents have to earn more to afford their rent, with the average one or two-bedroom apartment costing $2,529 per month. 

Following the widely-accepted rule that people’s rent should only be 30% of their income, Murphy is right on track. However, it is difficult to maintain this rule when the cost of housing is increasing much more constantly than people’s earnings. Coming up in October, Murphy’s current apartment building will announce to its residents how much their rent is going to increase.

People are constantly moving out, according to Murphy, and their reasoning is always due to the hike in prices. Even if a renter was able to endure the first increase, their income couldn’t necessarily handle another one.

“These are people like me,” she said. “They’re working, you know. They’re college educated, for the most part, I think, but they can’t [pay] that so they go into an older building and move a little bit away from the neighborhood they might want to be in so they can afford to stay in Portland.”