Despite Housing Shortage, Rent Control Moves Forward

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Senator Daniel Bonham

Legislative Update


Welcome back to my newsletter and thank you for reading. I gave an invocation today, the last floor session of this Easter Holy Week; watch here

Despite the housing shortage, Rent Control moves forward

No matter where you travel in the state, it's clear that Oregon needs more housing. SB 611 is not the answer.

This is a rent control bill that leaves zero incentive for landlords, as well as investors and developers, to build the multi-family units that are necessary if we are going to hit Gov. Kotek’s target of 36,000 new housing units per year.

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Do we really want to be chasing away potential investors when the state needs more housing?

The bill passed out of committee earlier this week and will move to the Senate Floor next.

We know more rent control will drive out current landlords, turn away new developers, and make it more difficult to maintain existing properties due to rising inflation and decreased capital.

Let’s reject the urge to again enact more rent control as the “solution” for housing affordability, while leaving all other regulatory barriers and burdens in place. This will only exacerbate the problem. Let’s streamline the process and adopt a pro-active approach to housing policy while listening to industry experts who understand the path towards an adequate housing supply.

This editorial explains more about this bad bill. Watch my remonstrance here.

Audit the Oregon Food Bank and its political activity

I spoke on the Senate Floor against HB 5045, a budgetary bill that includes a $7.5 million increase in funding for the Oregon Food Bank. Watch here.

In general, the Oregon Food Bank performs a needed function when keeping with its mission to "feed hungry Oregonians." If their focus stayed true to their mission, I'd have no problem with the funding allocation. But I do not have confidence that the added funds will be used entirely as promised.

There has been a recent uptick in the Oregon Food Bank's political and partisan behavior. 

The nonprofit has actively lobbied for legislation beyond its reach.

In 2019, it expressed opposition to Republican efforts to keep food and goods affordable by blocking cap and trade, and during the 2022 General Election, the Oregon Food Bank took out a full-page political advertisement in The Oregonian, valued at about $16k, that was clearly meant for partisan campaign purposes and goals.


Additionally, during the 2022 legislative session, the Oregon Food Bank pushed for the controversial HB 4002 Ag Overtime bill; a vote clearly divided along party lines. Ironically, by supporting this bill, the Oregon Food Bank was actively engaging in partisan politics against the farmers who supply affordable food options to Oregonians and the food bank itself.

The organization seems to compartmentalize campaign staff, campaign messaging, and lobbying expenses under the broad term of "advocacy." Nobody knows the real dollar amount poured into political activism by the OFB.

That's why I chose to use a priority bill to call for a fair, bipartisan audit of the Oregon Food Bank and its financial dealings. More to come.

Calls for independent investigation into OLCC remain unanswered

Many Republican and Independent legislators have urged for a nonpartisan investigation into the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission's (OLCC) alleged favorable treatment during land acquisition and its rare liquor distribution among government employees. I spoke on the Senate Floor about this.

The Governor’s office has said that the partisan DOJ’s investigation will suffice. I disagree.


To further illustrate the corruption of the OLCC, last week, Willamette Week published the results of an investigation into La Mota, the second largest cannabis dispensary chain in the state. 

The OLCC has opened and closed 196 investigations of La Mota licenses since January 2019. Why?

In 2018, an OLCC investigator found 163 pounds of what he alleged was unaccounted-for weed at a Jackson County La Mota warehouse. OLCC staff asked its board to cancel the warehouse’s license. They never did.

And despite a longstanding history of unpaid taxes (which are supposed to, in large part, go to Oregon schools), the OLCC continues to grant the chain new licenses each year. This is a real example of "follow the money."

Now more than ever, the OLCC needs to be investigated by an independent board to help on the long road to restoring Oregonians' trust in the government and its employees.

Constituent Moments

Thank you to the great group of homeschool students and educators from my district who came by for a visit and to talk about some of their priorities.

School choice is integral to the success of students and families across the state.


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Until then,

Senator Daniel Bonham, District 26

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1726
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-423​​, Salem, OR, 97301