Once again the City of Portland has missed an opportunity to support renters as it has repeatedly through the work of its anti-tenant Housing Committee, chaired by conservative councilor Jill Duson. Portland has the reputation of failing to protect renters – a reputation which may not help in attracting young people to this city – a serious problem for Portland that is predominated by seniors.
Specifically, Mike Boissonneau, d/b/a Banner Properties, LLC, has filed an application for a site plan review with the city’s planning office for the construction of a six unit condominium building in a new four story building on Munjoy Hill. The construction of “Condos at 7 Cumberland” will require the demolition of a building on site (see above left photo.) No date has been set for its review on the planning board agenda.
Just around the corner at 30 Merrill Street, is another project of Banner Properties that is currently under construction. Last year, it underwent intense scrutiny by neighbors who objected to the architecture of the building – the architect for that project was Evan Carroll, of Bild Architecture – as he is for this project as well.
The City has a staff person who specializes in housing matters and reports directly to the Housing Committee. If utilized properly as city staff can be, he might have been directed by Councilor Jill Duson, Chair of the Housing Committee to research “best practices” in other cities in the US on alleviating some of the financial burden of renters – experiencing similar gentrification as here in Portland. Rather Duson has used city staff to pursue the city’s own agenda against renters rather then try to find ways to assist them in relocating. Research of other “best practices” by city staff is common practice at Portland’s City Hall by other committees.
After a complete and thorough search, city staff would have learned that other cities require new owners who displace renters in good standing, compensate those renters for the expenses in moving. Those expenses may include moving expenses, security deposits, rehookups for services, but should not be limited thereto. Many renters, when displaced by gentrification, do not have the extra financial resources to cover these large expenses. The City of Portland is in “collusion” with the real estate industry and i’ts clear from the Housing Committee decisions.
While it is overdue, the City of Portland should begin representing all of their residents rather than a select few with deep pockets! Councilor Duson – Are You Listening?