Sam Adams

Candidate for Portland Commissioner, Position 4

Letter Grade: C-

Overall Score: 54/75

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?

Early on I called for a moratorium on evictions, a rent freeze, a contingency fund for rental assistance and legal aid, moratorium on utility shutoffs. I also support the end to campsite sweeping, except for when dealing with health and safety issues. I was also early in calling for a recognized definition of “front line workers” and who needed to be deemed essential and provided free childcare and better protection and work environments.

In addition to residential properties, I also called for a moratorium for commercial tenants, and mortgage freezes for small landlords of both commercial and residential properties. In an effort to support small businesses I have called for supplementation of unemployment benefits, and financial support for sole proprietors and gig workers. (5/5)

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

The core of the problem is growing income inequality and an inadequate supply of affordable housing. Portland has grown incredibly over the last decade, but our housing production has not kept up. For every ten units we needed to build, we only built seven. This has led to rising rents and the gentrification of our most vulnerable communities. Existing single-family zoning in Portland has also made it difficult to increase the density, and with it, affordability. (2.6/5)

4.) Do you rent or own your residence?

Rent (2/2)

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

Yes. I have a triplex in the Kenton neighborhood. The rents are an average of $920.00 for two-bedroom units compared to the city average $1,599.00. The Average unit tenancy is 3+ years. Annual Anonymous tenant survey showed 33% very satisfied and 66% extremely satisfied. 21% Asian American 29% Black/African American 50% Caucasian. I pay for water, garbage, and sewer costs. (0/2)

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?

I would lobby the state legislature for legislation that would work towards these goals. I would also include these issues in the City’s Annual State Legislative Priorities. (3.4/5)

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

No (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 (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?

No (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?

I would include those affected in every step of the decision-making process. We need input from both renters and landlords in making equitable decisions about our city’s growth and housing policies. I have a long history of bringing communities and factions together to find a common path forward. I would lean on that experience and my relationships with city, community, and neighborhood leaders to ensure the concerns of tenants is understood in City Hall.(2.8/5)

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?

Most important is to make sure the correct and truthful information is what is used to make decisions. It is critical to address misinformation tactics head-on and publicly hold accountable anybody trying to mislead the Council, the City, or citizens. I would publicly hold these groups accountable.

As Mayor and City Commissioner, I prided myself in bringing transparent and unbiased information to the decision making process. The City Council depends on testimony and research to inform critical decisions about the future of our city. If that information is inaccurate, not to mention intentionally false, it places in J (3.4/5)

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?

I would encourage them to stay involved, but whether they choose to or not is their decision. (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? 

Yes, I support maintaining and Strengthening Portland’s status as a Sanctuary City. The contributions of Portland’s Immigrant communities make us a stronger and more representative city. We must stand up for those who can’t always stand up for themselves. (3.2/5)

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?

I also would close the fair-housing loophole that allows landlords to enact no-cause evictions in the first year of tenancy. (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 want to develop a citywide housing policy that would attract private sector investments in the city to build housing that would help close the housing supply gap. Along high traffic streets and transit, I would champion the organization of co-housing opportunities. I would also like to lower the cost of rental application fees. (2.2/5)