Sam Chase

Candidate for Portland Commissioner, Position 2

Letter Grade: D+

Overall Score: 50/75

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?

A moratorium on commercial lease evictions and emergency stipends for low-income households. (3.4/5)

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

A lack of affordable housing supply and massive rent increases over the last two decades. (1.2/5)

4.) Do you rent or own your residence?

Own under mortgage (0/2) 

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

Yes, I moved into a house with my life partner and am renting my former residence out at this time. (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?

Immediate action is needed. I would seek a statewide solution first, but where the state doesn’t act, Portland must have authority to. (1.4/5)

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?

I will empower organizations that have direct relationships with tenant organizing to participate in the city’s processes. Specific past actions where I championed the inclusion of renters in policy decisions include successful efforts to:

-Organize renters to participate in neighborhood associations -- which are mostly dominated by homeowners.
-Reform urban renewal to win $350 Million for affordable rental housing.
-Win a regional bond measure for affordable housing -- the largest in state history and first regional bond in the nation.
-Propose a regional initiative to the May ballot that will be the largest resources initiative per capita in the nation for homeless services. Significant amounts, if not the bulk of resources will support short and long term rent assistance. (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?

A civil society must have accurate information to function successfully. Much in part because of Fox News and now Trump, more and more people and organizations feel empowered to falsify information and spread it far and wide. I will call out publicly and loudly any organization that spreads misinformation. (2.8/5)

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 believe strongly in inclusion. When landlords refuse to participate, we may be forced to make decisions without them. (3.4/5)

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 will continue to work closely with culturally specific communities. APANO is an example of an organization that has endorsed me because of my efforts to insist that all our decision-making at Metro and elsewhere include people with a broad range of lived-experience. (2.2/5)

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?

While I support tenant protections as a critical way to keep people out of houselessness, I would also make significant investments in short and long-term rent assistance, and case management and support services that would get houseless people back into housing. (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?

Housing and Homelessness Plan

Portland faces a growing homeless crisis. Incremental steps to addressing homelessness and the equivalent of band aids and duct tape are failing to get the job done. I will fund and implement proven solutions that match the scale of our crisis. As our community faces an unprecedented health crisis, the need for decent, safe, affordable housing is only more clear. Portland will provide a model to inspire cities around the country to follow suit and truly address homelessness, solve chronic houselessness and the need for camping, as well as restore the livability of our communities for everyone. I will:

Let culturally specific communities take the lead--Communities of color are disproportionately affected by homelessness--particularly Black and Native American populations. I will set aside program resources to invest in non-profit and other service providers to identify and implement programs that specifically lead with race as a determining factor on how to deliver services.

Living wage jobs--We need to ensure that the benefits of our economic growth reach everyone. For those who can work, the reward for their labor should be a wage on which they can support a family in the same community where they are finding work. In turn, workers contribute to the tax base to support continued services for others. I will ensure people living with houselessness or on the verge of houselessness are able to access job training services through effective non-profit, community college, and government workforce programs. Construction, healthcare, and other sectors face a dearth of qualified and trained workers. When people find a path to sustained economic success, we all win.

Implement Nick Fish’s plan to create 2,000 Permanent Supportive Housing Units. Our most vulnerable, chronic homeless populations are able to get off and stay off the street when they have housing with ‘wrap around’ services like case management, mental health support, and addictions treatment.

Add homeless shelter beds. Smaller shelters throughout Portland--not gigantic overcrowded shelters that overwhelm residents and neighborhoods--will include services to ensure residents are successful in transitioning to long-term housing and support services that will keep them out of houselessness.

Prioritize Access for those with the greatest need. Affordable housing is a precious and unfortunately limited resource. Until we meet my goal of affordable housing for all, ensuring that the resources we have are serving those with the greatest need means we are getting the most out of what we have. I will implement a system that helps populations find the right housing to match their needs. For example, those with the mental and physical capacities to be first in line for housing built to serve a certain population may not be the best fit and vice versa.

Increase the supply of affordable housing--While my plan calls for historic and unprecedented investments to match the scale of our homeless crisis, we can’t subsidize our way out of Portland’s housing crisis. I will implement strategies to encourage affordable well-designed housing types. I will champion well-planned housing along transportation corridors, in commercial areas where infrastructure already exists-like the Lloyd District, through the Albina Vision, and other areas where impacts to existing neighborhoods will be modest.

Cut the cost of building affordable housing--Streamlining the design and permitting process can be achieved with better results for our neighborhoods at the same time. Technologies in prefabricated structures and less costly financing strategies will also be implemented to bring down the total cost of housing.

Residential infill--Success depends on community acceptance that fits the character of our individual neighborhoods. I will create a residential infill competition for the best designs in a range of categories from duplex to fourplex to sixplex affordable. The best designs will be selected by a community of neighborhoods, architects, culturally specific communities, builders and others, in a way that will generate broad support for designs and sizes that better fit the character of neighborhoods. Winning designs will receive an award, but will then be surrendered to the public domain. Approved designs will be available free to builders, along with streamlined pre-development, zoning approval, and permitting such that there will be an incentive to utilize designs that fit better with community priorities. Moreover, incentives will be evaluated for projects that more appropriately fit a neighborhood.

Homeless services--I will champion investments in services that have high success rates in helping people get and stay out of homelessness such as case management, mental health support, addiction treatment, job training and other services connected to housing. Partnerships with the healthcare and service providers must be scaled up by investing in pilot projects and other programs that have the best proven outcomes.

Implement Sam’s Regional Fair Share Housing and Homelessness Plan-- Portland needs to stop funding the region’s homeless crisis alone. 95% of the region’s local affordable housing dollars to address our region’s housing and homeless crisis has traditionally come from Portland. Yet, Portland’s homeless populations reflect our region’s population. It’s past time for the rest of our region to take responsibility. My Fair Share Housing and Homeless Plan alone will triple the region’s impact on housing and homeless services by securing funding and building housing and shelter throughout our region and its 27 cities and counties.

Safety for all--Sam will expand Portland Street Response, Sending trained medics and peer specialists as first responders to our camps and other homeless people helps reduce conflict, get better results, and save resources for Police and other public safety officials.

Sanctioned camping --Dignity Village and R2D2 create safe, self-regulated environments that have low impacts on neighborhoods and their surrounding communities, and are excellent examples for replicating in the right locations.

Livability--Programs to reach out and engage people camping and living outside helps direct them to available shelter and needed services. It also provides an opportunity to engage people in understanding how to be good neighbors by keeping camp areas clean and community minded. (3.6/5)