Affordable housing crisis protest in Ashland

Renters are frustrated over the low vacancy rate in Rogue Valley and the increase of monthly rates.

Protestors are bringing the affordable housing crisis in Jackson County to the forefront.

These protesters are made up of Jackson County residents and members from Southern Oregon’s Jobs with Justice.

They’re marching outside Ashland’s Commercial Property Management’s office with their signs facing Highway 99.

The organizer of the protest wants to bring attention to the growing affordable housing crisis.

“We’ve kind of gone through this process personally and know the struggle and the fear that families are going through when it comes to providing adequate housing for their families,” protest organizer Jason Houk said.

Commercial Property Management oversees 3,300 residential units in the valley.

CPM’s President, David Wright, says they follow landlord tenant law and landlords only increase rent to match the market.

He says it’s a supply and demand issue.

“It’s a hard thing because there just aren’t a lot of available units especially in Ashland. Unless we build more or get more land that could be used for affordable housing, it’s going to be tight for a little while, I think,” Wright said.

Wright says he thinks the 1%-2% low vacancy rate is unhealthy for the market.

Looking at the big picture, the protestors hope to create a tenants union.

They are also working on a state-wide campaign to eliminate “no cause evictions”.

As for now…

“We’re hoping that our action here today will help encourage people to find out more about what they can do to address this affordable housing crisis,” Houk said.

The CPM President say the state of Oregon currently allows “no cause evictions”, but he says the legislature will be re-addressing that in 2017.

NBC5 News Multimedia Journalist Elizabeth Ruiz was raised in Northern Colorado. She graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Journalism and Media Communication. She also minored in Spanish and studied in Spain. While at Colorado State, she was an anchor and reporter for CTV Channel 11.

Elizabeth loves Zumba dancing, singing and spending time with her family.

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