PORTLAND, Ore. -- In a move that may be the first of its kind in modern Portland, the renters advocacy group Portland Tenants United papered a southwest neighborhood Thursday with fliers about one of their own.
They hoped to put pressure on a man named Landon Marsh. He bought an eight-unit apartment complex in a rough neighborhood along Southeast Ash street between Southeast 122nd and 120th Avenues.
He is now raising the rents, in at least one case, by $375 a month.
The leader of Portland Tenants United, which is fighting a city wide battle against rent hikes, said the time for words has passed.
“We either just have to lay here and feel like we somehow deserve to be bankrupted by just literally just trying to stay in our very humble homes or we have to turn up the heat. I mean, what other options are there?" said Margot Black.
One renter said there is often crime on the street in front of the apartments but the rent was cheap here and it’s near the MAX line -- a big benefit for the many renters who do not have a car.
But Aleina Langford, who moved in three years ago, said the spike in rent will likely force all the current residents out.
“It made me cry for the whole weekend. It was just really devastating,” she said.
Lanford said her rent is now $825 a month for a two bedroom. It’s about to go up to $1200 a month.
That's why she cried.
“Because it was very obvious that I wouldn’t be able to afford it. And if I couldn’t afford it I would have to move,” she said.
Landon Marsh bought the building in June 2016. He declined to comment.
A spokesperson for Marsh said the rent increases are needed to pay for the cost of the apartments and for needed repairs, and that $1200 is still below the going rate for apartments in the area.
Margot Black, with Portland Tenants United, said he should lower his rates or give the tenants a month’s free rent to save up for their next place.
And she promised more protests and public shamings aimed at those who increase rents in Portland.
“I do think landlords and management companies need to understand they are going to be held accountable for this,” she said.