The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners on Thursday, Jan. 26, voted to approve a resolution that will put before voters this May an initiative that would establish a residential tenant resource program funded by a capital gains tax.
The chief petitioners filed a prospective petition in March 2022, signaling their intent to propose a County law change that, if passed, would create a residential tenant resources program providing free lawyers in County residential evictions proceedings and related housing claims and appeals as well as financial assistance and would be funded by a new adjustable .75 percent capital gains tax.
If the measure does not pass, the program would not be created and the tax would not be imposed.
The petitioners, which titled the measure “Eviction Representation for All,” were required to collect a minimum of 22,686 signatures by Nov. 28; the campaign submitted 24,216 signatures on Nov. 23. The Multnomah County Elections Division subsequently verified the signatures and certified the outcome to the Board of County Commissioners on Dec. 22.
Oregon’s unique initiative system allows anyone to propose new legislation. County code prescribes the set process for how that takes place.
During the Thursday board meeting, Assistant County Attorney Katherine Thomas walked board members through procedures required to send the measure to the voters.
“I want to be clear that this is the next step in the process of bringing this before the voters, so your vote today is really just setting the election date for the next available election on May 16. It’s not a vote for or against the measure,” said Thomas.
“It’s really the next step in the process to allow this measure to move forward so it will appear on the ballot for voters to consider.”
Multnomah County Elections will assign the initiative a sequential measure number. It will appear on the ballot for the May 16, 2023 election.Watch the board update here.