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The Columbia Press

Columnists & Other Opinions

Senior Moments: Big rent increase a concern

Emma Edwards
By Emma Edwards, Thursday, February 28, 2019

I saw a bumper sticker not so long ago that says it all. “God put me on earth to accomplish a certain number of things; right now, I am so far behind, I will never die.”

Many of us remember a line from one of my favorite children's books that went something like “Today is a terrible, horrible, no good day, very bad day, a day to move to Australia!”

I think I had one of those days. And no, I have no plans to move to Australia.

My bad day was when I received a letter from my landlord increasing my rent from $625 to $850, effective in 90 days. Why now?

You can imagine it was the talk of the month in our shared laundry and mail rooms in the apartment complex. It was a pretty big blow for some of us.

With the number of “kids” I have, I know I won’t go homeless. But my heart goes out to those seniors who walk alone or almost alone at this stage of their lives.

Besides that, I love living in an apartment complex with 30 units, which provides me with meaningful friendships and, most important, a feeling of independence.

I did a bit of research and learned that a rent-control bill has passed the Oregon Senate limiting “annual rent increases to 7 percent above the annual change in the consumer price index.” Now it must pass the Oregon House.

If passed, Senate Bill 608 would be the first statewide rent control law in the country. Areas in several states, including California and New York, have rent control, but not statewide. We are not talking about “just seniors.”

The proposed bill would benefit families, too. Research confirms that landlords aren’t happy with the bill and maybe that’s why so many rent increases are being handed out before the bill goes into effect, if passed.

Had my $625 rent increase been 7 percent plus the consumer price index of 3 percent, it would have been a 10 percent increase of $63 instead of $225. That’s a big difference!

What is done is done and we have no choice but to live with it and make do with it. We seniors have lived through worse in different stages of our lives, I’m sure.

And remember, as you get up in the morning, that this is (still) the day the Lord has made and we will rejoice in it! And no one can take that away from us!

Perhaps you would like to do as I did: Call 503-986-1432 or write (I did both) to Rep. Tiffiny K. Mitchell, House District 32, 900 State St., Salem OR 97103, and express your concern and share your feelings about proposed Senate Bill 608. As our state representative, I’m told Mitchell will listen to us and supports this bill so far.


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