TERA HURST (RUNNING FOR COMMISSIONER POSITION 2)
Should policies be adopted to ensure every neighborhood in Portland welcomes more neighbors, through smaller, denser, lower-cost housing options like smallplexes, cottage clusters, and small-to-moderate-sized apartment complexes, via both the nonprofit and private markets?
Yes, everywhere. I absolutely believe this is a viable option for addressing our housing crisis. As Deputy/Chief of Staff to Mayor Hales, we developed the Residential Infill Project. I support the affordability bonus amendment which allows up to 6 units per lot. I was also the lead on developing the Kenton Women’s Village, a tiny home village dedicated to women experiencing houselessness and domestic violence. Density is not only a good way to create affordability and more options, it is also critical in tackling the climate crisis. Walkable, livable neighborhoods need to be a priority for all neighborhoods in Portland. We have a lot of work to do, but it’s who we are as a city. It’s what makes Portland great.
Should Portland expand transit-oriented development (allowing apartment complexes by-right within a short walk of all major transit lines) as a way to discourage the use of single-occupancy vehicles and reduce our city’s carbon emissions?
Yes. The only way we can lower GhG emissions is by making public transit the most attractive option for everyone in Portland. This means more frequent routes, and protected lanes, and that transit fleets MUST transition from dirty diesel to electric. This also means that we should be focused on ensuring that any new development is built near max lines and frequent bus routes.
Should neighborhood associations have less, as much, or more power than other community organizations when it comes to questions of housing, such as whether new apartments or homeless shelters are permitted in a given neighborhood?
Less power. Neighborhood associations are a critical voice for our city. But our frontline community organizations need a bigger voice in how we address such critical issues. We need to hear people’s concerns and hopefully address them. Fear cannot be how we determine if there will be a home for a family or not in any given neighborhood. Addressing a crisis takes everyone playing their part. Not in my backyard is not an answer.
Should Portland dedicate less, as much, or more money to regulated affordable housing? (If you answered “more money,” what funding mechanism(s) would you pursue to build this additional housing?)
More money. In 2019, the legislature limited local jurisdictions’ ability to raise revenue. I would support going for another housing bond. It will take at least a decade to build us out of our affordability crisis. We need more affordable housing units and we need to reduce barriers to build units faster. Our focus should be permanent supportive housing, subsidized housing for extremely low to low incomes and middle housing. When we get through the first and second wave of COVID-19 we will need to get people housed and back to work as quickly as possible. I support housing that is mixed income and also intergenerational.
Would you support a citywide moratorium on evictions during the three coldest months of the year, as Seattle recently adopted?
Yes. Yes, we have seen too many people die on our streets due to freezing conditions that should never happen with the wealth in this country or even in our city. Losing your home in the dead of winter is traumatic and shouldn’t be deadly. I applaud the Seattle city council for their action and will work with my colleagues to pass a similar measure if elected to city hall.
As Portland implements an anti-displacement plan, which policies from the Anti-Displacement PDX Coalition would you support? What additional anti-displacement policies do you support?
Require advance 90-day written notice to a tenant if the owner plans to sell, demolish, or redevelop their home.
Implement a Tenant Opportunity to Purchase policy that gives all current renters, and then the city, the first and second rights of refusal to purchase a property at fair-market value before it goes on the market.
I believe we need to increase the amount of rental vouchers we provide to families across the City, so that those who are struggling the most can afford to stay in their homes. This is only going to be further exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, and the City needs to use the $76M in the rainy day reserve fund to ensure we’re not allowing struggling families to lose their homes, on top of having lost income, jobs, and businesses. I need more information on the impacts some of these measures. I support the spirit, but would want to see and hear more about the specifics and impacts it could have on other priorities. Strengthening our anti-displacement policies is the best thing we can do to address our housing crisis, and ensure that families aren’t pushed out of the City. We know that displacement disproportionately impacts communities of color, particularly Black people in Portland, and we need to do everything we can as a City government to make sure people can stay in their homes, and stay housed. This includes, certainly, pathways to home ownership, particularly for communities of color, which is an important way to build generational wealth in communities that have experienced redlining and systemic racism.
What else should Portland pro-housing, pro-tenant community know about you & your candidacy?
I’m a single mom and sole provider in long-term recovery from drugs and alcohol. I have been a renter for most of my adult life. When my family and I first moved to Portland we rented a house sight unseen from a friend of a friend. We moved here in the summer of 2008 at the beginning of the recession, without a job, and my son was 2 years old. The job market was harder than we expected and took us longer to get work. By fall, we realized that the house we rented was too expensive for us. When I let the landlord know, I handled finding a new renter and went over and above to help them find a new tenant– which I did. The landlord found every possible way to keep my large deposit which we desperately needed to make our bills. She took the whole amount and it was devastating for our family. We moved to a house that was owned by a family we knew because our kids went to preschool together, then the recession hit them, and they needed us to move. We then moved to an apartment a week later. The neighbors warned me that the family who had lived there prior had kids who got lead poisoning. I tested the windows and there was an exorbitant amount of lead. The landlord was not willing to do the abatement and we had to move again. I had no resources at the time in energy or money to challenge her, and we decided to move again. The next house we stayed at for a few years until we were able to buy a home of our own.The rent was relatively low for the neighborhood and that meant that I felt like i couldn’t ask for any help with some of the issues we faced including a rat infestation–there were rat droppings in all of our boxes and our landlord was not willing to help clean it. The way they handled the removal was abysmal. I also saw him continue to increase the rent every year not only on us but much more so once we left. He never did any improvements so there was no reason to increase the rent. This was an incredibly stressful year; I deeply understand the powerlessness you feel. It is awful and I want to do everything in my power to ensure other families don’t have these same experiences.
Hurst received an A overall from our scoring committee. See all scores and read about our process here.