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March 2018
As your current President, I want to provide you with insight into one of my recent actions. As you know, I was appointed to Mayor Wheeler’s Residential Services Commission in November. In February, however, I chose to resign. I would like to share with you my reasoning. My hope is this may motivate you and other members to rally into a concentrated effort to fight the new heavy-handed, un-fair and self-defeating policies the mayor and other politicians in our state are now adopting. Following is my letter to the Mayor’s office:
 
Mayor Wheeler,
 
This letter is to confirm my termination as a Commissioner from your newly formed Residential Services Commission, (RSC) effective immediately.
 
As an appointee, I was honored to be a participant in what I understood was an advisory body to help shape policies to address the Portland housing crisis.
 
During my short time on the commission, however, I found it resulted in little more than a megaphone for anti-property owners’ advocacy and protest groups, including me being personally “hissed” at while speaking during session. Public testimony has been staged primarily with members from PTU; of the 13 people who testified during 2 sessions, only 1 person spoke on behalf of property owners’ rights.
 
Most disappointing of all has been your lack of direction outside of proposing an agenda that includes limiting screening criteria, lowering security deposits, registering all landlords and regionalizing further Portland anti-landlord policies. There has been no discussion (or room to allow for the opportunity to discuss) any practical land-use policies and/or owner incentives for protections that might spur investment or rapid growth of housing units to help increase supply and ease rising rents.
 
Now, with your announcement to repeal the single family exemption without any prior notice to the RSC, it shows a disregard for any valued input that might have (even a remote) chance of being presented before making sweeping legislation. Additionally, I submit that this single decision will do more to remove a large supply of rental properties faster than any other policy or directive, as it only serves to motivate small landlords to get out of the rental business and sell to new owner occupants.
 
As such, being the president of the Rental Housing Alliance of Oregon (RHA Oregon), in good conscious, I can no longer support this commission’s momentum in any way.
 
I appreciate the opportunity to have served, and I hope my replacement finds more opportunities for success.
 
Sincerely,
Ron Garcia
President RHA Oregon
Garcia Group