Alanna (AJ) McCreary

Candidate for Portland Commissioner, Position 2

Letter Grade: A

Overall Score: 66.7/72

1.) In your view, what are the main causes of the current housing crisis?

From my perspective, the main causes of our current housing crisis include the rate in which rent has continuously increased while wages have remained stagnant, the lack of available land zoned residential, as well as the disincentivization of affordable housing development for wealthy developers. True affordable housing is sparse, causing the displacement of low-income Portlanders who are disproportionately communities of color and immigrant communities. (4/5)

2.) What are your top priorities for advancing tenants rights? Please list one to three policies or initiatives you are or will be proactively championing, and provide an explanation of a. your work around this/these policies, and b. why it is/they are important.

I will proactively be championing:

  1. Canceling the rent and rent debt forgiveness.
  2. Rent regulation — as a way to lower the cap on annual rent increases and to allow local Governments to implement their own rent control.
  3. Reduce screening barriers to make it easier to get into housing; we should absolutely never screen for criminal history like the City of Seattle.
  4. Eliminate no-cause evictions.
  5. Increase the amount of relocation assistance for tenants in the City of Portland.

These initiatives are all important for my platform because I am a pro-housing and pro-tenant advocate, and I am not afraid to be a voice for tenants. (4.7/5)

3.) Do you rent or own your residence? If you own your home, when were you a renter most recently?

Rent. (2/2)

4.) Are you currently a landlord? If so, in what capacity?

No. (2/2)

5.) PTU had been advocating for the Tenant Protection Ordinance along with a coalition of over 25 organizations. The TPO would support tenants experiencing harassment from their landlord. If elected, will you prioritize and support passing the Tenant Protection Ordinance?

Yes. As Commissioner, I would commit to working with our community to implement the best processes and policies to protect our renters. I support passing the Tenant Protection Ordinance and will utilize this as the first tool in uplifting our renters. (2/2)

6.) Portland’s relocation ordinance currently kicks in at a rent increase at 10% or above. Would you favor lowering the amount that triggers relocation payments if a rent increase forces tenants to move?

Yes (2/2)

7.) If elected, would you work to overturn the state of Oregon’s preemption preventing local rent control measures, and work towards local rent control with a lower annual increase cap?

Yes (2/2)

8.) If you answered yes to #6 and #7, how would you champion or advocate for the changes needed? What are your priorities and timeline?

As Commissioner, I would work towards drafting policy and recommendations to advocate for local tenant protection measures. My priorities include local rent control, changes in zoning, and ongoing rent assistance to increase the amount of available housing and keep Portland renters safely housed. (3/5)

9.) If elected, would you support the right of tenants to collectively bargain their leases and rent?

Yes (2/2)

10.) If elected, would you support a Right to Counsel (tenants in eviction courts are guaranteed legal counsel) and a funding mechanism to provide it?

As Commissioner, I would be dedicated to providing as many supportive measures as possible for our renters. Right to Counsel is one of the most imperative measures to protect our renters. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of tenant education and legal assistance, as many Portlanders were faced with barriers to paying their rent during this time. The Portland Housing Bureau has an existing program in partnership with the Oregon Law Center and Portland Community College’s CLEAR Clinic in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the infrastructure that currently exists, I would allocate funding to sustain this program to function at the current level or higher, to ensure this program remains an invaluable resource for our Portland renters. (2/2)

11.) If elected, would you ask Portland Tenants United to participate in any community engagement process that involves tenant law or housing justice issues? What other groups would you invite to the table?

As Commissioner, I would invite our many organizations working towards tenant rights and protections including Portland Tenants United and the Community Alliance of Tenants. I would also invite the many community-based organizations that are working with communities of color, as BIPOC communities disproportionately experience housing instability and have lower rates of homeownership. There is so much knowledge and great work happening on the ground in silos. As Commissioner, I will work towards bringing this work together to create sustainable changes in Portland. (2/2)

12.) How would you ensure that policies and processes which affect tenants meaningfully include impacted renters, and reflect the diversity of the tenants affected?

I’m running for Portland City Council because I believe in democracy and community-based leadership. As Commissioner, I’m committed to developing accountable policies and processes to include our most impacted community members in decision-making. Too often, our Portlanders living at the margins are brought to community tables to discuss issues and solutions, and see no change after the process is concluded. As Commissioner, I would reimagine what community engagement looks like and utilize the valuable information that comes from community engagement to inform policies. I will hold my other Commissioners and our many bureaus accountable to these processes to ensure we best meet the needs of our community. (3.3/5)

13.) Would you refuse or return campaign contributions from Multifamily NW's Equitable Housing PAC, The Good Landlord PAC, More Housing Now! PAC, or similar real estate industry PACs?

Yes (2/2)

14.) Landlords and lobbyists have often walked away from policy conversations when they feel that the status quo is threatened . How will you respond if landlords and lobbyists refuse to engage in good faith toward a tenant-friendly solution to a housing crisis problem?

Going against the status quo is the only way we can implement real change in Portland. Walking away from the conversation shows a lack of investment in the people of Portland. 

It sometimes feels impossible to center civility and politeness when your family, friends, or neighbors are struggling with housing instability. That said, a better world is possible, a better Portland is possible, and we all share more in common with each other than not. I will be unapologetic about placing advocacy for tenants at the center even if it means that some will paint me as harsh or strident. But the truth is that what benefits those of us who are the least well-off benefits all of society, and I will keep trying to build deep, authentic relationships that will encourage folks to stay at the policy tables. (5/5)

15.) Are there other ways, besides those you have already mentioned, that you will champion housing affordability, expand tenant rights, and fight displacement?

I will champion housing affordability, expand tenant rights, and fight displacement through a variety of methods including housing preservation, affordable housing production, inclusive rezoning, developing a community-driven anti-displacement plan, and other immediate supports including rent assistance, mortgage assistance, and housing vouchers. (4.7/5)

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  • Leeor Schweitzer