Here are the bills we’re tracking this legislative session

Posted by on February 20th, 2019 at 7:51 am

Capitol building in Salem.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

(NOTE: We are updating this list throughout the session. Please refresh to see latest version.)

We’re about one month into Oregon’s 80th legislative session. And while no blockbuster bike-related bills have emerged yet, there are still a number of things we’re keeping our eyes on.

Here’s our list and a few notes about all the bills we’re tracking this session…

Senate Bills

SB 7 – Lower BAC Level – Overview
Senate President Peter Courtney wants to lower the legal level of alcohol a person can have in their blood while operating a vehicle. Currently at .08 percent, this bill would make it .05 percent. I interviewed Senator Courtney about this bill back in December. Status: Referred to Judiciary Committee.

SB 10 – Housing and Transit – Overview
As reported by The Willamette Week, this bill would, “Require metro-area cities to allow 75 housing units per acre within a quarter mile of frequent transit and 45 units within a half mile. That number goes up to 140 units within a quarter mile of a light-rail station.” This could be a game-changer! Status: Hearing in Housing Committee scheduled for February 25th.

SB 421 – “Made Whole Bill” – Overview
Known by advocates as the “Made Whole Bill”, SB 421 would prevent health insurance companies from collecting damages from an at-fault driver in a collision until the victims are fully compensated for their losses (or “made whole”). The bill comes out of the tragedy that claimed the life of a 22-month old boy who was hit and killed by a driver while walking across North Lombard in 2010. The boy’s mom, Michelle DuBarry, is pushing for the new law and has several co-sponsors already signed on. “Accident victims may have crippling out-of-pocket expenses, life-altering injuries, and ongoing healthcare needs,” DuBarry writes on her website about the bill, “But they are only entitled to a settlement after their health insurer is fully compensated for their accident-related expenses. In cases where hospital stays are involved, there is almost never money left over for victims.” Status: Referred to Judiciary Committee. UPDATE, 2/26: Public hearing scheduled for March 8th.

SB 558 – Lower Speed Limits Statewide – Overview
In 2017 the City of Portland earned the right to lower residential speed limits by 5 mph without prior authorization from the State of Oregon. This bill would open up that same authority to any city in Oregon. (Interestingly, this is how the 2017 bill started out, but lawmakers worried that some Oregon cities wouldn’t be ready to assume this authority so it was changed to apply only to Portland.) Status: Public hearing scheduled for 3/6 in Joint Transportation Committee.

SB 559 – Allow fixed speed safety cameras in cities statewide – Overview
The City of Portland passed a law expanding their ability to use speed cameras in 2015. This bill would allow all Oregon cities to do the same. In its current form (with amendment introduced in committee on 3/18), the bill would allow cities to use the cameras only in a school zone and on “high crash corridors” identified by ODOT. Status: In Joint Committee on Transportation awaiting a work session.

SB 560 – Allow mobile speed safety cameras in cities statewide – Overview
A law passed in 2017 gave a select list of cities the authority to operate mobile photo speed radar systems (like in a van). This bill would expand that authority to all cities in Oregon. Status: Public hearing held 3/18. Currently awaiting work session in Joint Committee on Transportation.

SB 561 – Safe Routes Matching Funds – Overview
When the legislature passed the big transportation package in 2017, Safe Routes to School got dedicated funding. To get the money however, non-Title I schools are required to come up with 40 percent of the project funds (known as “local match”). This bill would lower the matching requirement to 20 percent for all projects, bringing it in line with Title I schools. Status: Referred to Transportation Committee.

SB 608 – Tenant Protections – Overview
This bill would prevent landlords from evicting people on month-to-month rental agreements without cause. It has already passed the Senate and there’s a work session in the House scheduled for today (2/20). This legislation is being followed by transportation reformers (it’s a priority bill for The Street Trust) because of how high rents increase sprawl and limit transportation options by forcing people to live further away from jobs and other destinations.

SB 623 – EV Registrations – Overview
This interesting bill would limit the type of vehicles Oregon residents could officially register in 2025. People who live in counties with over 600,000 people (currently just Multnomah and Washington), “may not register a new vehicle in this state unless the vehicle is a new electric vehicle,” says the bill text. Of note is that the bill’s sole sponsor, Senator Fred Girod, is a Republican who represents the small, rural district of Stayton. Status: Referred to Transportation Committee.

SB 746 – Education of Bicycle Laws – Overview
This is an attempt to get more information about cycling laws in front of everyone who takes the driving test in Oregon. It would formally combine the (now separate) Oregon Bicyclist Manual and Oregon Driver Manual and it would require a re-test on new laws when someone seeks renewal of their license. Read more about it here. Status: Referred to Transportation Committee.

SB 747 – TriMet Crash Investigations – Overview
Currently when someone is killed in a collision involving a TriMet vehicle, the agency investigates itself. Oregon and SW Washington Families for Safe Streets, an advocacy group, wants more accountability and oversight. This bill would create a TriMet Crash Advisory Committee appointed by the Oregon Transportation Commission. Read more about it in our previous coverage. Status: Referred to Transportation Committee.

[UPDATE, 2/21: TriMet Manager Of Media Relations & Communications Roberta Altstadt just gave us a comment about SB 747:

“TriMet takes very seriously our obligation to our riders, our employees and our community. Every serious incident—especially those involving loss of life—is devastating, including for their loved ones, TriMet operators and the staff and first responders who go to the scene. We hold ourselves to a high standard and insist that our transit system must operate safely.

TriMet has independent oversight by multiple agencies including the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Federal Rail Administration and Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Rail and Public Transit Division. TriMet reports all serious collisions to ODOT and the FTA, and both agencies can call for a joint investigation or conduct its own independent investigation of any crash.”]

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House Bills

HB 2001 – Middle Housing in Single Family Zoning – Overview
This closely-watched bill (sponsored by north Portland Rep. Tina Kotek) would allow “missing middle” (a.k.a. multi-family dwellings) in places currently zoned for only single-family housing. It would have a big and positive impact on cycling because it would enable more people to live in closer proximity to jobs and other destinations. A public hearing was held in the Human Services and Housing Committee on February 11th. Status: Possible work session scheduled for 3/27 in House Committee On Human Services and Housing.

HB 2020 – Clean Energy Jobs Bill – Overview
This is The Big One. Environmental advocates call this “historic climate legislation.” This bill would create a Carbon Policy Office and set up a “cap and invest” fund in Oregon law. Money raised from polluters could go toward cycling infrastructure projects that reduce vehicle miles traveled. There’s already been a ton of action around this bill. See the overview page for more info.

HB 2083 – Oregon Parks/ODOT Project Admin – Overview
This bill is pretty in-the-weeds; but from what I’ve learned it would formalize something passed in HB 2017 (the 2017 transportation bill) where ODOT had the ability to request up to $4 million in Lottery funding (via Connect Oregon program) from the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department. This isn’t new money, the bill would just clarify which of the two agencies would administer the funds. I hope to get a better understanding the bill’s impacts if/when it gets a public hearing. Status: Referred to Transportation with subsequent referral to Ways and Means.

HB 2219 – WES extension to Salem – Overview
This bill would establish a task force to study the idea of extending TriMet’s Westside Express Service commuter train all the way south to Salem. It currently runs between Beaverton and Wilsonville. Status: Public hearing in Joint Transportation Committee scheduled for March 4th.

HB 2314 – Lane-Splitting for Motorcycle Riders – Overview
Our fellow, two-wheeled vulnerable road users want more ability to split lanes under certain conditions. As you can learn at LaneShareOregon.com, motorcycling advocates say the bill would help them stay safer on the roads and would reduce congestion by allowing riders to move up between stopped/slow auto traffic. Status: A public hearing was held on February 20th in the Joint Committee on Transportation.

HB 2671 – Scooter Helmets – Overview
Introduced by newly elected State Rep. Sheri Schouten (D-Beaverton), this bill would make helmets optional for scooter riders over 16 years old.

Matthew Kopko from Bird testifying at a committee hearing on February 13th.

Currently, all scooter users must wear a helmet. Backers of this bill want to “harmonize” the scooter law with the bicycle law which requires helmets only for children. A public hearing was held on February 13th at the Joint Transportation Committee and legislators lectured and grilled reps from Bird and Lime. I’ll post separately about the hearing (it was a doozy!), but at this point I’d say this bill has very little chance of getting out of committee.

HB 2682 – Bike Lanes Through Intersections – Overview
As we shared back in December, this bill would amending existing statute to clarify that bicycle lanes continue through intersections even when the paint striping doesn’t. The only reason this is happening is because two judges have come to radical conclusion that simply because bike lane striping disappears in intersections, so does their legal status. That makes no sense at all. It would be an absolute embarrassment if this bill failed to pass. Status: Public hearing in Joint Committee on Transportation scheduled for 3/27.

HB 2702 – Speed Limit Authority for Portland – Overview
Fresh off receiving authority to lower residential street speed limits by 5 mph, with this bill (sponsored by Rep. Rob Nosse) the City of Portland would be able to establish speeds on any road under their jurisdiction. Yes, even wide and fast arterials like Burnside, Division, Sandy and others. Status: Referred to Transportation Committee. UPDATE, 2/27: Public hearing scheduled for March 6th.

HB 2864 – Jurisdictional Transfers – Overview
This is the bill we’ve been waiting years for: It would hasten the jurisdictional transfer of ODOT’s “orphan highways” like 82nd Avenue that run through urban neighborhoods. The Portland Mercury covered the issue well a few weeks ago. The bill would direct all ODOT regions statewide to conduct an evaluation of highways for potential transfer from state to city ownership. It would also — and crucially, since the barrier to these transfers has always been the funding needed to bring them up to good condition — establish a “Jurisdictional Transfer Fund.” Status: Referred to Transportation Committee.

HB 2880 – Free Transit for Vets – Overview
Sponsored by Rep Rob Nosse (D-Portland), this bill would make public transit free for disabled veterans. Status: Referred to Transportation Committee.


Are there other important bills we should have on our radar? Please let me know.

In related news, the Oregon Mountain Biking Coalition will host their first-ever legislative day in Salem on February 27th.

Stay tuned for more coverage of the 2019 session.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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69 Comments
  • Avatar
    soren February 20, 2019 at 8:31 am

    SB 608 would prevent landlords from evicting all tenants without just cause after 1 year of residency. Moreover, SB608 is not a rent control bill. It has a weak anti-price gouging provision that only limits the most egregious speculation.

    Unfortunately tenant rights organizations had little voice in drafting this measure and landlord and real estate lobbyists inserted loopholes that weaken it significantly. For example, landlords can evict tenants without cause after bogus lease violation notices. Because tenants have zero recourse or remedy for these notices, the bill creates a perverse incentive for landlords to harass and threaten tenants with eviction. I once received a lease violation notice for not sufficiently cleaning and lubricating the tracks on my balcony sliding door. Other tenants have received lease violation notices for having blocked pipes, hanging clothes/towels to dry, storing bikes in their apartment, or putting potted plants on balconies.

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      Kelly February 20, 2019 at 9:08 am

      Rent control is universally considered to be a bad idea by economists (i.e., the people that actually know what they are talking about unlike angry tenants). All it does is artificially limit supply even further, forcing rents up even higher. It also discourages landlords from improving properties, etc. There is plenty of research on this issue; feel free to look up articles and publications on your own. Rent control has not worked in cities like SF and NYC but I suppose the definition of insanity applies here… It is Oregon after all.

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      • Avatar
        Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 20, 2019 at 9:14 am

        Thank you soren and Kelly for sharing what you know about this issue. It’s not a policy I am very familiar with so I appreciate the insights.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty February 20, 2019 at 9:26 pm

          It’s anecdotal, of course, but everyone I know who has been a tenant in a city with rent control has really disliked it, even as they have benefitted (sort of… being locked into a unit you hate and is far from your job because your rent is low could be seen as a benefit or a problem depending on your perspective; but since so many others are in the same situation, units turn over slowly making it harder to find a better place even if you wanted to). It basically gives everyone involved a perverse sent of incentives and makes the system more adversarial than it might otherwise be.

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        bikeninja February 20, 2019 at 9:36 am

        Rent control is considered a bad idea by a certain subset of economists. The Milton Friedman based neoliberal school of market based economics ( or Chicago School) which has been the basis of economic thinking since the Reagan administration holds up rent control as one of its boogymen. But this analysis only applies to a certain time and place in economic history. During the growth phase of a capitalist based economy controlling rents would in fact limit supply, but as we enter another new of economic history ( one which is constrained by limits on energy, resources, and climate effects) much of that type of thinking must be thrown out the window. Instead we must move to an economic system that can adapt to our inevitable change toward a steady state economy ( you can’t have infinite growth on a finite planet) and we must throw out dogma like” Rent Control is Bad” in search of solutions that help us achieve fairness, sustainability and best use of available resources.

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          Concordia Cyclist February 20, 2019 at 10:28 am

          I’d add that there are many types and flavors of “rent control,” so broad brushing them all as ineffective is intellectually disingenuous and ignores that incremental changes can indeed have positive impacts on the problem.

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          Champs February 20, 2019 at 12:48 pm

          Sustainability and fairness is a two way street, though.

          Rising costs on fixed revenue is no more sustainable than infinite growth on a finite planet. As landlords for the past two years, we have upgraded units and absorbed rising costs like water, garbage, and property tax. Someday, though, we’ll have to raise the rent, lower upkeep, or dip into our own funds. Only one of these decisions is sustainable and fair to all, and even fewer are easy.

          Another thing to consider is that with increased regulation comes increased consolidation. Call me biased, but I think most of us fare better as a face rather than a number in the database of a corporation with no compunctions about collecting just as much money as it can.

          The other consequence I’ll float out there is that more landlords are just going to nickel and dime for charges like water, sewer, and garbage. If the rent is capped but those costs aren’t, the simplicity of bundling them with rent isn’t worthwhile.

          This is not to say I think everything is unfair. We’re actually renters, too.

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            Gary B February 21, 2019 at 3:24 pm

            You should pass on the costs of water, sewer, and garbage. Not only does it solve half the problem you identified, I believe it’s irresponsible for a tenant to be disconnected from the environmental impacts built into the costs of those services. I.e., expensive water is a really good way to encourage tenants not to waste it!

            As to property taxes. Since normal property tax increases are limited to 3% per year, it’s rather unlikely they would grow faster than allowable rent increases (10% per year in Portland). You’d have to have a very expensive unit that you’re renting out for a bargain. Assuming no one is contemplating a “rent control” measure that would prevent any and all rent increases, that’s a non-issue. Which leaves your mention of “improvements.” Small improvements aren’t going to trigger a property tax increase. A remodel would–but are you really remodeling with the place already rented? I doubt that scenario occurs, and if so, frankly a remodel that would price out an existing tenant is quite unfair.

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        Alex Reedin, now in Albuquerque, NM February 20, 2019 at 11:34 am

        Although I believe the mainstream economic literature on what is popularly known as rent control (e.g. NYC and SF ordinances), I also agree with Soren that what is proposed is not really rent control, at least as has been studied in the mainstream economic literature. Aside from the loopholes (which if Soren is right, need to be fixed), the cap on annual rent increases is 7% plus inflation! That’s not going to hold down prices over the long term unless we fail EVEN WORSE THAN THE BAY AREA HAS at housing affordability.

        Here’s my work:
        -Median HOUSE price of $265,000 in 1994 (market bottom)
        -Median HOUSE price of $1,420,000 in 2018
        -If appreciation had been 7% plus inflation (assuming 2% inflation), median house price would have been $1,764,529.

        Note: I know this is about buying costs rather than renting costs, but both tend to follow the same contours. If anything, buying costs tend to have bigger bubbles due to irrational exuberance.

        Anyway, I know the bill fits the official definition of “rent control”, but I’m with Soren in thinking that it would be better to caveat more in coverage of it. It’s nothing like San Francisco or NYC or WWII rent control, which is what I think people think of when they see the phrase “rent control.” Here’s my suggestion on what Jonathan might add to clarify – scare-quotes and a wonky sentence.

        SB 608 – “Rent Control” – Overview
        This bill would prevent landlords from evicting people on month-to-month rental agreements without cause. It would also limit rent increases to 7% plus inflation annually. It would mean big rent increases would be spread out over more years but likely wouldn’t keep rents permanently lower. It has already passed the Senate and there’s a work session in the House scheduled for today (2/20). This legislation is being followed by transportation reformers (it’s a priority bill for The Street Trust) because of how big rent increases increase sprawl and limit transportation options by forcing people to live further away from jobs and other destinations.

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        • Avatar
          Alex Reedin, now in Albuquerque, NM February 20, 2019 at 11:35 am
        • Avatar
          Alex Reedin, now in Albuquerque, NM February 20, 2019 at 11:43 am

          It might even be better to headline the bill as “tenant protections” rather than rent control. The bill just isn’t what most people think of as “rent control.” It doesn’t satisfy people who are very progressive on this issue like Soren, and it also is pretty far from the “rent control” that people on the right fear. If the bill is passed, I think we’ll still have people on the left pushing for “REAL” rent control – rent control that actually holds down the rent market-wide. Which is why calling this bill “rent control” is confusing, even though it’s pedantically technically correct and other media outlets are doing it too.

          My recommendation:

          SB 608 – Tenant Protections – Overview

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          • Avatar
            Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 20, 2019 at 12:01 pm

            done. thanks Alex.

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            Kelly February 20, 2019 at 2:19 pm

            You think it’s just “people on the right” that fear rent control. That liberals can’t possible favor economic policies that actually make sense. This is why we can’t have any honest political discourse anymore, everything is either right or left, black or white, and people would sooner label someone as “other” than actually have honest fact-based discussions about issues.

            Economics is not a partisan issue ffs

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            • Avatar
              Alex Reedin, now in Albuquerque, NM February 20, 2019 at 2:50 pm

              A pitch for civility – I miswrote.

              I consider myself pretty darn far to the left, and I also fear rent control (the SF/NYC kind). I should have said something like, “People who believe mainstream economic research.”

              Please consider giving someone you’re in dialogue with the benefit of the doubt next time.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty February 20, 2019 at 9:40 pm

            It’s rare for us to agree, especially on a housing issue, but I agree with your assessment that this bill is a pretty light touch on the rent control side. There are some things I don’t like in there, but I don’t object to the rent limitations, which seem to give landlords a pretty free hand while providing tenants some protection from the most egregious of rent raises.

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          Gary B February 21, 2019 at 3:29 pm

          While I agree 7% plus inflation is a pretty modest restriction, I disagree with your method of analysis. You took two extremes and applied a gradual 7% to every year in between. A steady-state increase, year after year.

          In reality, rent prices follow cycles. During a “normal” period, a landlord can’t increase rent above the inflationary rate (give or take) because of market pressures–if the demand isn’t there, the rent stays the same. It may even have to drop at some points. Only when the real estate market booms, like the recently-ended span in Portland and most other places, the 7% cap would come into play. It would be effective in preventing landlords from jacking rents to take advantage of a hot market.

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            Alex Reedin, now in Albuquerque, NM February 21, 2019 at 3:52 pm

            That’s true! During intense booms, it would keep rent from being jacked up as quickly (like in Portland recently). That’s great! It’s the reason why I support it!

            I’m just saying that it almost certainly won’t result in situations like NYC and SF, where rent-controlled units are WAY cheaper (I dunno, ~40-70%) than market-rate units for decades on end. I think the likely result of the bill is something like “Rather than 15% increases for 5 years, you get 9% increases for 8 years and end up at the same rent in the end.”

            I think that’s good! The overall impact on landlord finances is not huge. A situation like SF/NYC can really reduce the number of rental units on the market, and spook potential developers of new rental units.

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      J_R February 20, 2019 at 9:43 am

      If you think landlords rip off tenants, have unreasonable requirements, or are making a fortune, I suggest you become a landlord. Then you can set whatever rents and requirements you think are fair. Or, take the “excess” profits and donate them to causes you support.

      I was a landlord, renting out for a few years a house in which I had lived. It proved to be a massive headache and proved to be far less rewarding than if I’d put my money into the stock market or even a CD.

      If you don’t have enough money to buy a house or apartment to rent out, I suggest you invest in a mutual fund or company that builds, manages, or owns dwellings. You can even use your IRA or start your investment with as little as $50 per month. Then, donate your massive profits to causes you support.

      By all means, become a landlord. I was and it didn’t work out. I’m sure you’ll be more successful.

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      • Avatar
        Concordia Cyclist February 20, 2019 at 10:33 am

        Not everyone gets into a business simply to make easy money. Some take pride in helping those in their community and neighborhood through business ventures and also see it as an opportunity to provide local leadership. Profit need not be the only motive – I’d argue it is actually morally repugnant if it is truly the only motivation for an individual in a given business.

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          J_R February 20, 2019 at 11:00 am

          It sounds like you’d be a great candidate to be a landlord. It didn’t work for me; massive headaches and less return on my “investment” than a certificate of deposit.

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      • Avatar
        soren February 20, 2019 at 11:45 am

        Thanks, but I have no interest in becoming a landlord. I like being a tenant and believe tenancy can be improved by making it landlord free. For example, ~60% of people in the city of Vienna live in cooperative or municipally-owned housing. I and others are actively organizing to move Portland in this direction!

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        • Avatar
          Kelly February 20, 2019 at 2:20 pm

          I was a tenant for like 5 years and literally never had any problems. No idea why tenants in this city are so whiney about everything

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty February 20, 2019 at 9:51 pm

          I am also living landlord free in my own pseudo co-op household.

          But seriously — I don’t know why there aren’t more co-ops (of all kinds) in this supposedly DIY collectivist city. Maybe the hipsters displaced the hippies.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 20, 2019 at 9:46 pm

        Or you can put your money into a REIT and help fund the sort of high-end corporate owned apartments that are helping realize the new urbanist dream without any of the headaches of managing a building.

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    • Avatar
      Johnny Bye Carter February 20, 2019 at 6:10 pm

      If this passes it will just make existing slumlords even worse. They’ll go above and beyond to find violations and neglect the unit until you have to move out. I’ve twice been in rentals where the heat broke in winter and it took them a month to fix it. If a landlord wants you out they will find a way to make your life miserable if they can’t simply evict you.

      And if a landlord needs to remodel a unit that has deferred maintenance then it’s just going to keep getting worse if they’re unable to make repairs to an occupied building.

      I don’t see how this will keep rent low, keep renters happy, or let people stay in their rentals. This just makes the landlords more creative in ways to harass you legally until you’re forced out without the usual protections.

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    Al February 20, 2019 at 9:17 am

    The HB2020 link has an error in it. There’s an extra bracket at the end preventing the page from loading correctly.

    Also, it’s technically a “cap and invest” bill and not “cap and trade”.

    I have no idea where Fred Girod is going with his bill. It looks completely dead on arrival.

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    Bjorn Warloe February 20, 2019 at 9:44 am

    Would be great to see hb 2880 amended to just eliminate fares on transit statewide. Cities could follow the lead of Corvallis and pass a utility fee to make up the funding gap. Trimet would need a fee of around 10 dollars per household to take the system fareless.

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      David Hampsten February 20, 2019 at 5:24 pm

      The federal government (FTA) requires larger city systems like TriMet to charge fares for various reasons, none of them particularly economic, but more so that residents “value” their system and are more willing to invest in it. Our own city in NC barely makes enough farebox revenue to cover the costs for the extra personnel, machines, maintenance, administration, and fare enforcement – frankly we would be better off without fares. All states also subsidize transit, some more than others (for example, NY & Minnesota) and many require farebox revenue be part of the local match, no matter how little is actually collected.

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        Bjorn February 21, 2019 at 4:56 am

        Hi David, I helped push for the fareless system in Corvallis although it happened after I left the advisory committee. This is the first I have heard of a fare requirement and I would like to learn more about the specifics. Can you point me at the regulation/law that would require trimet to raise revenue via fares? Thanks.

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        • Avatar
          David Hampsten February 21, 2019 at 8:27 am

          I’ll do my best, but it may be a while before I can get back to you.

          I’m an appointed board member of my local transit authority, so I’ll ask staff about it, both from the city and from our commercial contractor (we outsource so we can keep our unionized employees). If I’m wrong, they are always happy to correct me (but not the reverse.)

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    matt s February 20, 2019 at 9:53 am

    Ha, fred girod was a crook when his wife was the mayor of stayton and he was on city council. my mom tore them apart when she was the editor of the stayton mail. i cant believe he’s a senator.

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      Johnny Bye Carter February 20, 2019 at 6:12 pm

      All the things you say about him are the reason I can believe he’s a senator.

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    Glenn f February 20, 2019 at 10:04 am

    HB 2682 – is why we need to start electing different Judges when ever possible..

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      meh February 20, 2019 at 11:43 am

      Name one judge who was elected by actually running against someone. Almost every judge retires outside of the election cycle so the replacement has to be appointed by the governor. Then they run unopposed until they retire mid-cycle for the next appointment.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty February 20, 2019 at 9:54 pm

      Yes! We need a more politicized judiciary! That will fix everything!

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        meh February 21, 2019 at 6:34 am

        How much more politicized can it be than one party appointing almost every judge in the state? The people are not electing judges as they should be.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty February 21, 2019 at 8:56 am

          If judges stand for election, they may bend their decision to the public mood, which is historically not produced the most just outcomes. If a judge is appointed, they no longer need to answer to anyone, which gives them a degree of independence they would not otherwise have.

          What we need, and what I believe we have, is a mechanism true replace incompetent judges when they make it to the bench. I am not convinced that elections are a good mechanism for doing that.

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            meh February 21, 2019 at 9:04 am

            Yet judges appointed by the governor who has a specific political agenda is better than the people electing judges??? Who does the judge then bow to?? I seem to remember a ballot measure on the death penalty passing in this state, and yet we have had two governors who ignores that law. What makes you think she’s going to appoint judges that follow the law and not a political view?

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty February 21, 2019 at 9:10 am

              Of course people appoint judges whose philosophy they agree with, but why would a judge continue to bow to the person they appointed them, when that person continues to hold no power over them? Is this actually a documented problem in practice?

              There is no perfect means for appointing judges. However I think the evidence shows that even if it were theoretically better to elect judges (which I think it is not) in practice elections offer very little value because of the lack of contested judgeships and the lack of information on which voters can make an informed decision. Assuming that voters would make an informed decision if they could, which I think is a bit dubious.

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    BrianC February 20, 2019 at 11:08 am

    Kelly
    Rent control is universally considered to be a bad idea by economists (i.e., the people that actually know what they are talking about unlike angry tenants).

    I will dispute the statement that modern economists know much of how *anything* actually works in the *real* world. I’ve had the pleasure of sitting in my University econ courses where the instructor draws the little graphs, attempting to give a veneer of science to what often turned out to be a cover for a political agenda spread with the fervor of a religious fanatic. (Free Markets Now, Free Markets Tomorrow, Free Markets Forever! Government Bad!)

    Then I graduated, and spent ~40 years working and running a business in the real world. A place where my clients almost never make business decisions as “rational actors”. Business!
    A place where the stupidity and mendacity burn with the white hot intensity of 10,000 incandescent suns.

    Frankly, a good liberal arts degree with an emphasis on the classics, coupled with some real live experience and travel, would help people far more than an Econ degree.

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      Kelly February 20, 2019 at 2:22 pm

      lol liberal arts degrees are why this country is so f-ed up in the first place. Science is important but people would rather argue about feeelings maaaan

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        Dan A February 20, 2019 at 2:51 pm

        Ah yes, people who have a broad educational background are the cause for our downfall. It has nothing to do with mega-corporations and billionaires bending the government to their will.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty February 20, 2019 at 9:57 pm

          I don’t think liberal arts are the reason for our downfall, but the rich have been meddling in politics for about forever, so I don’t think that’s the cause of our problems.

          Personally, I blame scooters.

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        David Hampsten February 20, 2019 at 5:31 pm

        I used to be a “social scientist” (geographer) but eventually discovered that humans are actually highly irrational creatures, so I became a city planner instead, dealing with urban politics and useless plans who’s goals are multiple, vague, and conflicting. Life is good.

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        Al February 20, 2019 at 10:04 pm

        Economics is not science even though they try very hard to confuse people into thinking this. Even the Nobel Prize in Economics isn’t actually a “Nobel Prize” as it wasn’t one of the prizes Alfred Nobel’s trust setup.

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    Eric Leifsdad February 20, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    We could save a lot of time, money, and lives on jurisdictional transfer if we don’t let ODOT “fix” their horrible stroads before handing over authority. We’ll either be tearing it out entirely or installing rubber curbs and jersey barriers on top of the fresh pavement of their 7-lane intersection designs in order to constrict car traffic and create bus/bike space. Just gtfo already.

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      David Hampsten February 20, 2019 at 5:37 pm

      This bill is way too passive. They need to force cities to take over orphaned roadways. But at the same time, not allow ODOT to designate existing city streets such as Division as state/federal highways without prior city approval, as they currently have the power to do so.

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    pixie February 20, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    There are at least 2 bills dealing with suspension of driving privileges.

    HB 2614: “Repeals driving privilege suspension and eliminates imposition of driving privilege restrictions for failure to pay fine.”

    Full text: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB2614/Introduced

    HB 2371 “Permits court, after suspension of driving privileges for failure to pay fine, to reinstate person’s driving privileges if person is employed.”

    Full text: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB2371

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    Michelle February 20, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    Thanks for the coverage of the Made Whole bill, Jonathan! A minor correction – the bill number is SB 421 (not 241).

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    Adam February 20, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    HB 608 does not need tracking, it is all but guaranteed. Courtney’s HB 10 could be way more interesting housing legislation.

    https://www.wweek.com/news/state/2019/02/19/oregon-lawmakers-are-pushing-for-dense-housing-on-portlands-transit-lines/

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    Johnny Bye Carter February 20, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    Lane-Splitting for Motorcycle Riders: No thanks.

    All the safety benefits they’re touting don’t apply because they’re comparing full speed freeway crashes to 25 MPH rush hour crashes. Apples to oranges.

    It’s simply not safe to occupy a space that is already legally occupied.

    I hate being stuck in stopped freeway traffic on two wheels as much as the next person, but I’m not giving up my safety buffer to save 10 minutes. And if I’m in a car I’d rather not be crashed into when I move over in my lane to look ahead or avoid bad pavement.

    If they wanted motorcycles to go faster during rush hour they’d have an HOV lane on every freeway for us to use.

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      Al February 20, 2019 at 10:19 pm

      The most common argument against lane splitting is that, “It’s not fair.” Well then, it’s also not fair that motorcycle riders suffer a higher fatality rate in crashes. It’s also not fair that a simple fender bender can send a motorcycle rider to the hospital with serious wounds where it would just mean property damage to two cars.

      Lane splitting eliminates a common accident that motorcyclists suffer from at a higher rate than cars and that’s rear end collisions in stopped traffic. It turns out that the benefits of lane splitting far outweigh the risks and most of the world recognizes this. While California is the only state to allow lane splitting, it is in fact aligned with the rest of the world which does so.

      And as far as fairness is concerned, that motorcycle passing you by splitting lanes has actually reduced YOUR time in traffic by not being another car on the road.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 20, 2019 at 10:31 pm

        >>> And as far as fairness is concerned, that motorcycle passing you by splitting lanes has actually reduced YOUR time in traffic by not being another car on the road. <<<

        Not at all — if it were a car, it would be behind me.

        I'm not sure about the safety argument, but I really don't get the issue of "fairness". If you're not slowing me down, how is it "unfair" to me if you get where you're going faster?

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      Bjorn February 21, 2019 at 4:58 am

      Good news for you if you don’t feel comfortable splitting lanes the proposed legislation allows the practice. Your point would be more convincing if it required motorcyclists to split the lane. If you feel safer waiting you will still be allowed to.

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      Jim Calhoon February 21, 2019 at 9:04 pm

      So, have you ever ridden motorcycles and if so have you ridden in California and split lanes. I have, and I used to commute by bicycle in the South Bay also. I found them both safe. In fact, two years ago, I rode my motorcycle down to Monterey and was surprised by the number of drivers who moved over to allow me to pass while lane splitting. Most people who decry lane splitting as too dangerous are the same people who say riding bicycles on the road with cars is also too dangerous.

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    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 21, 2019 at 6:40 am

    Added Senate Bill 10, which as reported by The Willamette Week would, “Require metro-area cities to allow 75 housing units per acre within a quarter mile of frequent transit and 45 units within a half mile. That number goes up to 140 units within a quarter mile of a light-rail station.” This could be a game-changer! Status: Hearing in Housing Committee scheduled for February 25th.

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    Andrew Kreps February 21, 2019 at 11:07 am

    I wasn’t aware of this. The word ‘motorist’ is used 18 times.

    https://www.oregon.gov/odot/programs/tdd%20documents/oregon-bicyclist-manual.pdf

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    Gary B February 21, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    JM, you asked about other bills. Not quite, but interesting note on HB 2702 – Speed Limit Authority for Portland. In addition to expanding authority for setting speeds, as you noted, it also has a little less tantalizing tweak:

    “The city shall post signs giving notice of the designated speed on the portion of the highway where the designated speed is imposed *OR* at such other places as may be necessary to inform the public. ”

    My emphasis on “or.” The current law requires signs at each end of the affected road, then has an “and” there. I am thinking of this as authority for the city to do something other than speed limit signs on the specific roads, like a generic posting (“Welcome to Portland, All Roads are 20 mph Unless Otherwise Indicated.”). I wonder if that’s the intent.

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    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 21, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    UPDATE, 2/21: TriMet Manager Of Media Relations & Communications Roberta Altstadt just gave us a comment about SB 746:

    “TriMet takes very seriously our obligation to our riders, our employees and our community. Every serious incident—especially those involving loss of life—is devastating, including for their loved ones, TriMet operators and the staff and first responders who go to the scene. We hold ourselves to a high standard and insist that our transit system must operate safely.

    TriMet has independent oversight by multiple agencies including the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Federal Rail Administration and Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Rail and Public Transit Division. TriMet reports all serious collisions to ODOT and the FTA, and both agencies can call for a joint investigation or conduct its own independent investigation of any crash.”

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    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 27, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    UPDATE: Public hearing scheduled for HB 2702 for March 6th. This bill will give PBOT much more authority to lower speed limits.

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    Jim Fleck March 5, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    SB 746 and SB 747 are swtiched on thie page. 746 is the manuals and driver test bill, and 747 is the TriMet investigation bill.

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    Richard B. March 8, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    I am late to this, but without the “Bike Lanes Through Intersections” bill, are drivers never legally at-fault when right-hooking cyclists who merely cross an intersection from one side of the bike lane to the other? If so, how has this been overlooked for so long? Right-hooks are one of the most common issues ever, and all this time, responsibility has been falsely attributed to the cyclists being hit? I know victim-blaming is a thing, but this is next level.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 14, 2019 at 3:34 pm

      Hi Richard B,

      Drivers are required to yield to someone in a bicycle lane whether the bike lane is painted or not. The only reason this bill exists is because two judges made a very strange (and frankly, biased IMO) decision about a specific case and they did not take time to fully understand the law or the consequence of their decisions.

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    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 14, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Update: HB 2682- Bike lanes through intersections – scheduled for public hearing on 3/27. https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Committees/JCT/2019-03-27-17-00/Agenda

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    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 22, 2019 at 8:02 am

    Just added two more bills to our watchlist:

    SB 559 – Allow fixed speed safety cameras in cities statewide – Overview
    The City of Portland passed a law expanding their ability to use speed cameras in 2015. This bill would allow all Oregon cities to do the same. In its current form (with amendment introduced in committee on 3/18), the bill would allow cities to use the cameras only in a school zone and on “high crash corridors” identified by ODOT. Status: In Joint Committee on Transportation awaiting a work session.

    SB 560 – Allow mobile speed safety cameras in cities statewide – Overview
    A law passed in 2017 gave a select list of cities the authority to operate mobile photo speed radar systems (like in a van). This bill would expand that authority to all cities in Oregon. Status: Public hearing held 3/18. Currently awaiting work session in Joint Committee on Transportation.

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    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 22, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    UPDATE: on HB 2001 — Possible work session scheduled for 3/27 in House Committee On Human Services and Housing.

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