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May 2017
“Since 1927 the Rental Housing Alliance Oregon has set the standard for community
participation by landlords providing affordable and quality housing.”
I would say that the members of RHA Oregon represent some of the very best examples of self-sufficiency, entrepreneurism and community participation.
Let’s take a minute and explore who we are. We are not a committee, or a PAC. We haven’t just been around for years, or even for decades. We have been around for GENERATIONS. We are an alliance of property owners; people who have a vested stake in our community. There are people on our roster whose parents participated in RHA Oregon and who now have their own grown children who are also participating in this organization.
RHA has been hosting monthly dinners for so long that many of us who show up simply take them for granted. Yet volunteers like A.J. Shepard and Lynne Whitney spend countless hours planning the events months in advance; reserving the venues, negotiating the price for meals and tracking
down relevant speakers and sponsors to share their expertise.
But it’s not just the beer and wine that we come for. We show up to network with other owners and learn directly or through osmosis from each other. More importantly, we get the chance to meet specialists in every sort of area – finance, repairs, debt collection, investors, insurance, emergency renovators, and more – and we form trusted relationships that become essential to our success and survival in this business. Nothing beats knowing the person and company on the other side of the line or email when we are desperate for assistance!
These sponsors form the basis of keeping us educated – year in and year out - as they explain the ‘need to know’ on city codes, energy conservation, risk management, screening guidelines. Members of RHA Oregon can take pride in knowing that they have the best in the latest information pool to acquire the working knowledge and stay on top of an always changing industry.
And when, like me, members sometime have a brain slip or a senior (or junior) moment, they know they can dial the office and Cari Pierce or another member of the RHA Oregon team is there to help talk us off the ledge - or repeat the simple step by steps in handling how to fill in the
blanks on a notice that needs to be sent, or they help us out with what other options might be available to us. What a relief!
But of course, most of that working knowledge comes from, (what else??), THE FORMS that we all know and trust as the Number 1 reason that we continue to pay our membership dues. With each passing year the State Legislature comes up with something new, and we are never caught in the
wrong when we get the updated forms. In today’s world this is critical. And, by the way, the forms come from the State’s most successful landlord attorneys (who are also members, and former and current board members of RHA Oregon).
Of course, knowing those regulations as they occur is just the second act to actually participating in the legislation – which our lobbyist Cindy Robert – does so well. She, along with members who have chosen to raise their hands like Phil Owen, Jim Herman, Jerad Goughnour, and I regularly meet with and participate in forums with the City and State leaders (and in the past, the Landlord Tenant Coalition) as well as the Fair Housing Council.
All of this is done to continue to stand up for our basic rights of property ownership in what seems like a tsunami of protest and erosion that feels as though it rivals nothing less than global warming.
So does it sound like I’m bragging? What about men like John Sage, a successful insurance agent and expert in his field, who has spent countless hours involved in helping create and maintain The Good Landlord PAC, and now along with Mihyun Pratt are working diligently to upgrade our website. Or Katie Poole-Hussa, ‘LandLady Katie” who shares her knowledge freely in a monthly column and coordinates all of the classes as head of the Education Committee?
But I haven’t even begun to discuss the critical roles of people like Liz Carpenter who has spent years cultivating new members and directors, or Sandra Landis who volunteers to do our accounting. Ami Stevens who devoted two years of her life to helping to re-brand and update our logo and marketing, or members like Cathy and Sue Herman and Sue Owen who work at registration and set up of every event to help make it go smoothly. Or Alita who along with Tony Kavanagh has worked for years and years without fanfare or ceremony, still make sure that every month scores of men women and children who are living on the streets of our community are fed a decent meal, and help sponsor our annual Christmas Toy Drive to bring joy to the families of disabled veterans.
There is a huge heart and a great soul in The Rental Housing Alliance Oregon. There is dedication of purpose and a sense of steadfast resilience that, like the Ever-Ready bunny, just keeps going and going. So, more than being proud of participating or humbled to have the chance to be the current President, I’d like to simply encourage everyone reading this letter to pick up the baton and step outside of your comfort zone and habits and get more involved, because - even if it just seems like you are doing a chore like selling a raffle ticket or moving a table, like Alan Carpenter or Rita Robinson do every month with little recognition or expectations, the ripple effect magnifies many times over in what we can do together as a group and creates a bond that makes our cause strong.
So here is my question: Do we need to work together as a group? Has there ever been a more important time to stand up for our core values and principals and make sure the press and politicians get it right before they turn us into those greedy villains, as they portray us? Join us today and be involved. And thank you for all that you already do!
Ron Garcia
President RHA Oregon
Garcia Group