Candace Avalos

Candidate for Portland Commissioner, Position 1

Letter Grade: 

Overall Score: 63/75

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?

Yes: a freeze, moratorium, and forgiveness on small property owners (ie: Mom and Pop landlords with 3 or fewer units) (3/5)

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

The main causes of the current housing crisis are (1) decades of disinvestment on the state and federal level, (2) growing income inequality and burdening debt on younger generations, (3) wages that are barely enough to pay your bills and remain stagnant, and (4) a lack of creativity or political will in designing our neighborhoods to be more dense and offer mixed income housing. We have a lot of work to do to ensure our growth is scaled in a way that people can continue to afford to live and work in this city. As housing prices continue to skyrocket, more and more Portlanders are getting pushed to the outskirts of our city and our society. This gentrification threatens our residents’ way of life and the diversity of our communities. We need to create a city that has space and opportunity for everyone, while ensuring their voices are reflected in the decisions we make as we continue growing. Every Portlander deserves a safe and stable place to call home and a community that helps them thrive. Keeping a roof over your head should not result in sacrificing food, healthcare, and the right to live a productive and meaningful life. Together we must create a culture that makes it socially and politically unacceptable for our neighbors to remain houseless. (4.2/5)

4.) Do you rent or own your residence?

Rent (2/2)

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?

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?

It’s important that Portland City Council advocates for our residents on the state level, and pushes the Governor's office and State Legislature to give us the tools and resources we need to protect more people from becoming houseless. I will build strong coalitions with different community groups and other regional and statewide municipal partners to advocate for rental protections, which is at the crux of our housing and houselessness crisis. (3.4/5)

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?

One of the reasons I am running is because I can share the lived experience of not only being a renter, but also in a generation that is being left out of homeownership. The combination of my astronomical student loan debt, inability to save money for a home, and wages that mostly stay stagnant and force me to live paycheck to paycheck are what give me the much needed perspective to be a voice on City Council to advocate for these communities. I am running on a platform of good government, and to me that means a government that is responsive, transparent, engaging, and communicative. We live in the 21st century, and we cannot afford to continue missing opportunities to engage the communities most impacted by the decisions we make. As Commissioner, I will work to increase engagement with diverse communities and make sure their voices are reflected in policy initiatives. (3/5)

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?

Yes (2/2)

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?

I will hold any organization that spreads dangerous misinformation in the same way by limiting their access to participate in policy discussions if they are not approaching them in good faith. As leaders we need to lead open discussions with community members that may share opposing views, but when tactics to be heard become destructive and unproductive, the leaders need to be firm in maintaining high expectations for all involved in policy discussions. Everyone deserves to be heard, but not at the expense of stifling the voices of others that may not share the same perspective, and we have to model that behavior in City Hall. (4.4/5)

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 leaders we must do everything we can to strengthen the relationship and trust between communities that have different perspectives—this is crucial for City Hall. The solutions will need to involve all of these views and ultimately often must lead to compromise for everyone involved. It will be my priority to ensure that when people walk away from the table, we will use various negotiation tools to bring people back together. I have over a decade of experience in creating these kinds of relationships with various stakeholders and I will bring these skills to City Hall in situations like this one. (2.6/5)

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? 

Yes, I support strengthening Portland’s status as a Sanctuary City, and implementing proactive outreach to these communities to ensure they feel safe and protected by City Hall. This is personal to me as the daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, and we must stand up to discrimination against the immigrant community—especially in the Trump era. The services we provide for tenant protections must be available in multiple languages and offer case management that can help these vulnerable communities navigate their rights and provide support, like rental assistance, to help keep people in their homes and provide reassurance that in the face of our current administration, they will be protected. (4.4/5)

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?

Increased funding for rental assistance is something I am strongly advocating for, especially in the months ahead as we continue to combat the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to keep people in their homes and keep money flowing to help our economy recover from the loss of jobs and business revenue. (3.6/5)

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

I support building affordable housing affordably, and want to implement an innovation hub for affordable housing design and manufacturing. If the private market left to its own devices was going to solve the housing problem it would have by now—which is why we must incentivize ways to build affordable housing affordably at scale. In a world with growing income inequality, the expectation of homeownership is simply not an option for everyone. As more Portlanders are renting, we must continue to build in protections for tenants in our infrastructure by fully funding rental assistance and fully staffing and funding the office of Rental Services. Who is at the table during these discussions is critical when often decisions disproportionately displace low-income residents and communities of color, so I will advocate for greater representation and diversity in decision making spaces. (4.4/5)