Cameron Whitten

Candidate for Metro Council, District 5

Letter Grade: C+

Overall Score: 59/75

1.) Would you be willing to call for a moratorium on evictions, a rent freeze, a contingency fund for rental assistance and legal aid, moratorium on utility shutoffs, and an end to sweeps during the coronavirus emergency?

Yes (2/2)

2.) Are there any additional emergency responses that you would call for other than those listed above?

As Metro Councilor, I will call for these additional responses during pandemic emergencies:
– Guaranteeing Universal Basic Income
– Expanding relief for small businesses
– Converting vacant motels and SROs into emergency shelters
– Protecting workers by removing shutdown-exemption for certain industries
– Establishing emergency tent communities 

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

The main cause of our current housing crisis is the continued widening of extreme wealth inequality. (3.2/5)

4.) Do you rent or own your residence?

Own under mortgage (0/2)

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

No. (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?

No (0/2)

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 a Metro Councilor, I will testify in support of strengthening the City of Portland’s relocation ordinance. Answered no to #7. (2/5)

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

Yes (2/2)

10.) Would you support an effort like the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, that would allow tenants, delegated non-profits, or the City the first opportunity to buy a house or housing complex when the owner puts it up for sale?

Yes (2/2)

11.) If elected, would you support a requirement for tenant legal representation during eviction proceedings, including a mechanism to provide it?  Would you support allowing non-attorney advocates for tenants?

Yes (2/2)

12.) If elected, would you ask Portland Tenants United to participate in any community engagement process that involves tenant law or housing justice issues?

Yes (2/2)

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

As a Portlander who worked to overcome homelessness and other serious life challenges, I have an intimate connection to the experiences of vulnerable Portlanders. Metro must build a bigger table so that those most impacted by our housing crisis can be heard and shape policy. Metro is currently in a unique moment of internal reflection and transformation. Metro needs to be a regional leader on affordable housing policy and implement an affordable housing plan for the entire region. Frontline communities like tenants and houseless people should be centered in advisory and oversight structures, and as Metro Councilor, I will fight to ensure we have enforceable representation goals. (4/5)

14.) 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?

No (0/2)

15.) During the hearings for the Fair Access in Renting (FAIR) ordinances, MultiFamily Northwest led an information campaign based upon misleading, inaccurate, and racist claims. How would you hold landlord groups accountable when they spread dangerous misinformation?

As Metro Councilor, I will continue to be an outspoken leader against injustice, and I will hold other voices to a high standard. I will leverage all available platforms and community organizing strategies to oppose any misleading, inaccurate, and racist claims that come from any group. (3.2/5)

16.) Landlords and lobbyists have often walked away from political processes if they didn’t get everything they want. How will you respond if landlords and lobbyists refuse to engage in good faith toward a tenant friendly solution to some housing crisis problem?

As Metro Councilor, I will continue to work with stakeholders who remain at the table. I would not accept voluntary walkouts as a roadblock to urgent and necessary action. (4/5)

17.) Do you support maintaining and strengthening Portland's status as a Sanctuary City?  How will you work to protect tenants from discrimination or retaliation based on their immigration status? 

As Metro Councilor, I will support strengthening Portland’s status as a sanctuary city. I support the abolishment of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and will demand all local governments to refuse participation with ICE. I will support policies that provide legal representation for undocumented tenants and continued investment in immigrants rights organizations. (4.8/5)

18.) Environmental upgrades to old buildings is a necessary tool in the fight for environmental justice but could lead to displacement without strong tenant protections. Would you support strengthening the anti-displacement and tenant protection intention expressed in the Portland Clean Energy Fund ordinance by adding more specific enforcement measures to the ordinance and to similar future policies? 

Yes (2/2)

19.) What other tenant protections would you advocate? What would be your plan to enact changes?

As Metro Councilor, I will advocate for tenant protections through fair access to information. I will support the creation of a universal housing provider registry which details where rental units are, their size, their ADA accessibility, and their annual unit rents. (4.4/5)

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

As Metro Councilor, I will pursue many avenues to champion housing affordability, tenants rights, and anti-displacement. I will serve as a watchdog for the Metro affordable housing bond to ensure we develop housing for 12,000 community members. I will advocate for all public projects to include fair family-sustaining wages, local hiring preferences, project labor and community agreements, and buying local construction materials. I will support the development of a region-wide gentrification and displacement resource tool, and advocate for investment in communities that face a higher risk of displacement. I will support the development of housing that serves the diverse needs of working Portlanders– including ADUs, duplexes and multi-family units. And I will advocate against sweeps and for smarter and more effective solutions to ensure safe, governed, and resourced camping sites that can be used as a pipeline to get our most vulnerable houseless community members into more stable and permanent housing. (4.8/5)