Carmen Rubio

Candidate for Portland Commissioner, Position 1

Letter Grade: D-

Overall Score: 47/75

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?

Though out of the jurisdiction of the city, I would advocate for a moratorium on ICE hearings and proceedings, arrests, detainments and deportations. I’m also concerned about foreclosures; folks in domestic violence situations; and the impacts of unemployment, especially the loss of health insurance. (3/5)

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

Housing instability and homelessness are the result of decades of federal disinvestment in affordable housing, mental health and substance abuse supports, a growing income gap, and a destructive presidential administration. (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?

There is no doubt in my mind that large rent increases impact housing stability for families in our community. I don’t know what the right percentage is but it must be at the right one to be effective, otherwise it's an empty tool. I would like to know more about what the city did to engage advocates and experts on the current percentage and am open to learning more about what’s best going forward. (2/2)

7.) If elected, would you work to overturn the state of Oregon’s preemption preventing local rent control measures?

I have been reading a lot from low income housing advocates who have strong perspectives on different sides of this issue and I greatly look forward to learning more about what it would look like in Portland. In general, I am always going to be in favor of policies that benefit low income workers, renters and BIPOC, and agree that our local jurisdictions should have the authority to study and act to do things locally on this issue if we see fit and we are certain our mechanism wouldn’t reduce/shrink the access to affordable rentals but expand it. (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?

I would need time to study and learn this and other related issues, and hear diverse community perspectives so I can make informed and thoughtful policy actions or positions. This would be my priority before anything else. (0.8/5)

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

I’m interested in learning more and would welcome a conversation on the topic. One of the biggest barriers I see in my work is that not all multilingual renters have a baseline of understanding of their rights. I know this capacity exists, but we need the City and state to resource this with education and training for tenants to ensure they understand their rights and their recourse in hard to reach communities. (0/2)

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, in most cases I would think so - especially if it helps expand or retain affordability. I also imagine there would be cases that this didn’t fit perfectly, so we’d need to be clear where it does and doesn’t apply. (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?

I am in favor of a mediation process and restorative justice models to resolve conflicts between tenants and landlords. These are more cost effective and centered around community dialogue and healing. (0/2)

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?

There are important principles we can follow: have meetings/forums in different places in the cities and at times that people can attend; ensure policy information is written in ways that are accessible; ensuring translation, child care, and transportation are not barriers to participation; and engaging trusted organizations to help share and collect information. I’m also interested in bringing commissioners, the mayor, community development corporation folks, and other experts, and even the landlords to come and listen to renters; they might learn something and might teach us something too. This sort of forum is in everyone’s interest. (4.2/5)

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?

I am participating in the City’s Open and Accountable Elections program, which means I have already refused to take contributions from PACs. It’s been an incredible tool to reshift the focus from PAC and corporate money to truly engaging with voters and residents on issues. I hope that more jurisdictions look to this program as a model for their future elections. (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 absolutely stand up and speak out against misinformation and ensure the public has accurate information, and, especially that targets vulnerable, womxn, BIPOC, immigrants and LGBTQ and other vulnerable communities. (3/5)

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?

Unfortunately these are not the only people walking away from political processes - this is happening on more and more issues in our community, state and nation. We have to have political processes that start with understanding our shared values and common ground if we are going to make progress. Clear ground rules, including outcomes, setting realistic expectations and being clear about the intent of the convening is important. I will continue to invite people to the table so that we act on our values to engage with all impacted stakeholders, even if they decide to not participate. (2.8/5)

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, absolutely. I don’t believe our Sanctuary City resolution is strong enough, nor went nearly far enough in terms of city obligations to make our communities feel safer. I will champion this issue to give teeth to our status as a Sanctuary City and ensure all our community members are safe and welcome. We need to first involve immigrants who’ve experienced these challenges and involve them in advocating for solutions and policy changes. We also need to involve our immigrant rights advocates and immigrant serving agencies to ensure we have a system of safety and care in place. (2.8/5)

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, I’m absolutely supportive of this and the Portland Clean Energy Fund and its implementation. (2/2)

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

The most important principles to me are ensuring safety, habitability, affordability, multilingual tenant education, education and training certification for high-road (good faith) landlords, and fair housing. (2.3/5)

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

These issues are personal to me. By fourteen years of age my family had moved 10 times before having the ability to settle permanently. And sometimes those places weren’t the best for a family. I will bring urgency and focus to this crisis, along with an important racial justice perspective that will center ALL communities. This means directing more resources to the homeless crisis for supportive housing and services for the chronically homeless, and to prevent more families and children from falling into homelessness. Housing instability impacts children’s ability to learn, be nourished physically, and feel safe emotionally and physically. Great advocacy and work is happening in our community but it is still not enough. The City has a role here in leading a collaborative, regional response. As a City Commissioner I will bring urgency to these issues because we have no time to lose. (3.2/5)