Gresham renters concerned about rising rents, lobby city to pass renter projections

Sue Konkoal says her rent went up $175 in one year and will increase $100 in April. (KATU Photo)

Faced with rising rent prices, some renters in Gresham look to lobby the city into passing some form of renter protections.

Renters met at a meeting hosted by the Community Alliance for Tenants, an advocacy group for renters.

At around the same time in City Hall, a landlord was urging the city to not regulate rental pricing.

"I'm paying $920 a month, but last time this year I was paying $745 a month," said Sue Konkoal, a renter in Gresham.

Konkoal told KATU News her rent will increase another $100 in April.

"I know I cannot afford that," she said.

Pam Phan, policy and organizing director with the Community Alliance for Tenants, said she wanted to meet with renters to see what they're seeing.

"The city of Gresham is trying to figure that out, but I think there's a lot of work that needs to be done," Phan said.

In Gresham, according to the city, the average price for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,020. In the city, 47 percent of the population are renters.

"Gresham compared to the rest of the region is relatively affordable," said Elizabeth Coffey, a spokesperson for the city of Gresham.

Coffey said Gresham is the fourth most affordable place to rent in the metro area, trailing behind Oregon City, Forest Grove and Tigard.

City leaders, she said, have made affordable housing a priority, devoting time to the issue at a December City Council meeting.

One project in the pipeline is in the Rockwood neighborhood. A new development called Rockwood Rising will have 20 percent affordable housing units, Coffey said.

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