Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” – Unknown

I have been fortunate to have lived in several communities over the course of my life where, through volunteering, I have had the opportunity to “cast my vote” about the kind of community I wanted for me and my family. I became involved with Rental Housing Alliance Oregon when I moved back to Portland three years ago in part because of the commitment of our members to community service. Most of our members are small business owners and operators, whether landlords, or vendors, or both. As such, we are all very busy people. Yet I am consistently impressed at the number of RHA members that find the time to volunteer to make our community a better place. This devotion to volunteering and community service is embodied in our slogan, which affirms that we “…set the standard for community participation by landlords.”

If you review the list of volunteer board members alongside this message, you will notice the recent changes in board composition. After many years of dedicated service, Ami Stevens, Liz Carpenter, and Mihyun Pratt are taking a break from their board service, although they will continue to be involved in committee and subcommittee work.  At our December holiday dinner, we recognized these volunteers along with our immediate past president Ron Garcia, who also received the Al Moulton and Sharon Fleming-Barrett Volunteerism Award. I encourage you to thank them for their work with RHA the next time you see them at one of our functions.

At that same December meeting we installed three new board members: Tamara Evans, Jake Ramirez, and Violet Anderson. Please seek them out as well and thank them for their willingness to help our organization. We will share more about each of them, as well as other board members, through a new Spotlight feature in each month’s UPDATE. President-Elect John Sage was featured last month, and Ron Garcia is featured on page 13 of this month’s issue.

Now it’s your turn.

We need volunteers to serve on our board, as well as on several committees. I know that every member of RHA has a skill that can be brought to bear improving our organization. With the support of the board, our committee chairs are taking charge of several aspects of RHA in order to make it the premier resource in Oregon for landlords and vendors. For example, the Membership/Marketing committee will be focused on growing our membership through new marketing efforts, including social media. That committee will also be exploring ways in which our landlords and our affiliate members can more effectively connect. The Program Committee is always seeking out knowledgeable dinner speakers and venues, as well as individuals to help with Starry Night and our Annual Picnic this summer. The Education Committee is already selling out classes this year; demand for timely, quality instruction is only going to increase as statewide legislation and local ordinances change how we operate our businesses. Our committee chairs and board members are amazing folks, but they cannot do this work alone. We need your help. Please call the office and let them know that you are interested in volunteering for RHA in order to help make our community a great place to live.


Ken Schriver, RHA Oregon President