Portland Landlord Facing Re-election And Tenant Uprising

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Portland Landlord Facing Reelection And Tenant Uprising

Long-time Portland state Senator Rod Monroe is both a politician and a landlord, and lately those two jobs have found him in the middle of conflict.

First, Monroe (D-East Portland) has drawn a Democratic Party challenger from the left over his position on the rent control bill, HB 2004. Former state representative Shemia Fagan said Monroe’s refusal to back the bill shows he has been "incredibly tone-deaf" on housing issues and said the district needs a "more responsive" senator, according to a story in Oregonlive.com.

HB 2004 passed the house, but failed in the Senate. It would have lifted Oregon's statewide ban on rent control and restricted landlords who wish to evict tenants without cause.

Second, Portland Tenants United on their Facebook page are also taking on Monroe, “State Senator Rod Monroe is a #ProblemLandlord, single-handedly killing renter protections in Salem while making his tenants live in dangerous conditions. But he can't stop #TenantPower: it's created a progressive challenger in the Democratic primary (link in the comments), and now #TenantPower will force him to answer his tenants' demands to live in dignity.”

Landlord unfairly singled out

Monroe, who owns 51 units of Red Rose Manor along Northeast Glisan Street at the eastern edge of Portland.  says he's been unfairly singled out for opposing a ban on no-cause evictions and the loosening of rules on rent control, according to reports.

"I felt like it was bad public policy," he told Willamette Week. "[Portland Tenants United] are generally regarded as one of the more radical of the tenants' rights groups—and that's fine. But I think it's so much better for good legislation if landlord groups and tenant groups work together."

Portland landlord facing reelection and tenant uprising

Senator Rod Monroe

Since the conflict began, Monroe has been sued by a tenant, seen the city's most aggressive tenants union organize on his property, and gained two serious challengers in the 2018 Democratic primary. Most Democratic incumbents never see one, according to reports.

Group vows to replace Monroe

"We don't see any real renters' rights legislation passing until we replace Monroe with someone who supports working families," Hannah Howell, a Portland Tenants United organizer, told Willamette Week. "The makeup of the Senate hasn't changed in the past five months—votes will be coming from the same anti-tenant lawmakers taking money from the same anti-tenant lobbyists."

"These are the types of pressure tactics that I have grown to expect from [PTU]," landlord attorney John DiLorenzo told the newspaper.  "It's disappointing that anyone would seek to impose economic pressure on a member of the Legislature because they disagree with his voting record."

In August, Areli Lopez sued Monroe and the property management company he hires to run the complex, C&R Real Estate Services, alleging that in December 2015 a neglected leaky roof caused her to slip and fall, injuring her back, knee and shoulder.

Lawsuit against landlord politically motivated

Monroe believes the lawsuit is politically motivated. "There's no doubt about it," he told the newspaper. "If I were not running for re-election, this would not have happened."

In late October, Monroe and his insurance company filed a countersuit against Lopez's longtime boyfriend, with whom she shares an apartment. The suit against Jose Ramirez blames him for the puddle that formed on the apartment's floor, saying he should have mopped it up. It also calls Lopez a "trespasser" because her name was not on the lease.

Resources:

Portland Sen. Rod Monroe faces primary challenge from former Rep. Shemia Fagan

Portland Tenants United Facebook Page

Portland Woman Sues State Sen. Rod Monroe for $3 Million After a Leaky Roof in His East Portland Apartment Building Allegedly Left Her Disabled

The State Senator Who Could Block Rent Control Owns an East Portland Apartment Complex

Photo courtesy Multifamily Northwest.

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