RE: "The Hidden Costs of Moving Unexpectedly" [News, Oct 14], documenting the extra costs incurred when landlords force tenants out of their apartments.

DEAR MERCURY: I was heartened to read Margot Black detailing why rents are too damned high in Portland. At Portland State, those of us working as organizers with the Tenant Rights Project are stressing the importance of both solutions and strategy/tactics. On solutions, we support: rent control now, a permanent ban on no-cause evictions, and making Oregon the 49th state to require inclusionary zoning. (Texas would then be the only state without it!)

So far, in "polite Portland" lots of "stakeholders" argue for more "study and research" on housing gentrification. No way! Charlie Hales' chief of staff recently stated that "the housing issue is a complicated one with no easy solutions." No wonder many of us support Ted Wheeler for mayor in the next election: We believe Ted will start working on problems (including emergencies!) from day one, not several years into his term of office. Rent control now!

Lew Church, Organizer, Tenant Rights Project

PERHAPS something to consider is a law which—while not totally restricting this "sacred right" of greedy landlords/speculators/developers from throwing out their tenants so they can charge more next time around—would force these nasty decision makers to PAY for ALL related moving costs, and doing it up front at the same time they deliver the news. SOMETHING needs to be done to slow this rotten process down—if the powers that be are too spineless to ban it completely. At least it would spread the pain both directions instead of just one way.

posted by drclank

I KNOW it may not be a popular view, but my parents waited to have children until they could afford them. Perhaps the actual reason Margot is not a homeowner is that she and her spouse chose to have two children before, instead of after, purchasing a home. Landlords usually do not evict people without cause. In fact, vacancy is very expensive for a landlord—so they attempt to minimize it. They might ask tenants to move because they decided to sell the home, or they want to do a remodel that's so extensive it would not be possible with tenants occupying the property.

posted by Econoline

ECONOLINE: My first no-cause was many years ago (1998) and was discriminatory. It was probably illegal, but I didn't have the resources to fight it, or even know that I could. Discriminatory and retaliatory no-cause evictions are happening like crazy in today's market. With demand high and supply low, a landlord can get rid of a tenant they don't like and have 100 applicants to take their place. Our move required $5,000 in actual cash (fees/ deposits, double rent, truck rental, etc.), before accounting for lost wages and opportunity costs. What this article doesn't mention are economic evictions. You're absolutely right that the landlord can just raise the rent. But some people are getting rent increases of $400-500 a month. What if you can't pay the increased rent? Then you have to move. And that move is very expensive.

posted by Margot Black


RE: "The Madonna Issue" [Feature, Oct 14], in which we gush and gush and gush over the Queen of Pop.

THANKS for some Madonna love. I can't think of anybody so hated and admired simultaneously. Who else was known for being so good, but overambitious... except for maybe Hillary Clinton? I will proudly defend Madonna all my life (except, of course, for those few genuine embarrassments).

posted by SeanPDX

THANK YOU, SEANPDX for your support of the Mercury and our enduring love of Her Madgesty. You win the letter of the week and two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater—who will always get you into the groove.