California housing crisis podcast: Why Oregon passed big housing bills that eluded California

Rod Merrick, president of the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Assn., looks at a large complex in a southeast Portland, Ore., neighborhood, constructed next to a single family home in July.
(Kristyna Wentz-Graff / For The Times)

As residents of Oregon became increasingly alarmed about housing costs this year, Oregon lawmakers acted quickly. In February and then June, state legislators passed measures to limit annual rent increases and open up many single-family home neighborhoods to greater development.

Both measures were first-in-the-nation responses to rising housing costs, and ideas that have struggled to gain traction in the California Legislature.

On this episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast” we discuss why Oregon lawmakers succeeded in passing bills that eluded California’s legislators. Under the Oregon legislation, rents statewide cannot increase by more than 7% plus inflation per year. And local governments must allow fourplexes in single-family neighborhoods in the state’s urban areas.


Our guests are Pamela Phan, the organizing director of Community Alliance of Tenants, which was behind the rent cap legislation, and Mary Kyle McCurdy, the deputy director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, a key supporter of the fourplex bill.

Gimme Shelter,” a biweekly podcast that looks at why it’s so expensive to live in California and what the state can do about it, features Liam Dillon, who covers housing affordability issues for the Los Angeles Times Sacramento bureau, and Matt Levin, data and housing reporter for CALmatters.

You can subscribe to “Gimme Shelter” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Google Play and Overcast.