Portland’s Housing Audit: Worse Than Originally Thought

Right From the Start

In my column two months ago, I commented on a then recent article in the Oregonian regarding a finding of overwhelming racial discrimination among rental property managers.

All of this urgency to create yet another city agency appears to be motivated by a housing audit conducted earlier this year. It doesn’t make any difference whether you agree with the neutrality of the entity conducting the audit, or with its methods. It’s the response of the mayor and the city commissioners that defines liberalism. When the audit determined that racial discrimination occurred in over sixty percent of the transactions audited, did the city notify the federal or state authorities? No. The Oregonian in an article by Nikole Hannah-Jones quoted City Commissioner Nick Fish in response to a question about whether the discrimination will be prosecuted:

“’That’s not the right question. The intent is to do a balanced approach. I have concluded that the best approach is to look at changes to the system and not just individual remedies.

That’s it. In lieu of enforcing existing, workable laws, Portland opts to create another bureaucracy and impose new burdens on those already obeying the current law.”

A recent article in Willamette Week and subsequently echoed by the Oregonian savaged both the impartiality of the study, the group producing the study and the acceptance of the study by the Portland City Commission. In doing so, it confirmed that a bad situation was far worse than expected.

In my column I had assumed that there was a problem to be addressed – rampant discrimination in rental property managers. I had derided the Portland City Commission for a liberal’s approach to solving a problem – pass another law, create another bureaucracy, issue a press release and rush off to tilt at yet another windmill.

In reality, there was no problem. In reality, the Portland City Commission wanted to create a new bureaucracy, fund it lavishly with local and federal tax dollars, hire more public employees, ensure its longevity by creating a thirty-two member commission of the various special interest groups who support Portland’s liberal establishment and proclaim for the world the mantle of dedicated foes of discrimination. To do so, it had to produce a problem that it must solve. It also wanted to keep a $9 to $11 million dollar federal grant that hires more public employees, who belong to public employee unions, which extracts dues from the employees which are funneled back to Democrats in support of their elections and political causes. (Many refer to this as a money laundering scheme – tax dollars are washed to be used for political elections.)

Enter the Fair Housing Council of Oregon. The Fair Housing Council of Oregon is an advocacy group whose existence is dependent on being able to convince the public that there is discrimination in housing. Its website indicates that its major donors are a variety of federal, state and local government agencies. If a unit of government wants to produce a study demonstrating racial discrimination in housing whom better to retain than a group whose very existence depends on keeping that presumption alive. And, right on cue, they produced a study demonstrating that sixty-four percent of property managers in Portland engaged in racial discrimination. Wow! What a surprise.

Now there have been housing audits conducted in other cities – cities with far greater minority populations, cities with far longer histories of racial injustice, and cities run by administrations far less enlightened in the matters of racial equality than Portland has experienced for the past twenty years. And yet, Portland, Oregon, the bluest of blue cities, the greenest of green cities, the envy of all great bastions of liberalism produced a staggering 64% rate of discrimination.

Did anyone at the City even raise an eyebrow about the accuracy of such an audit? Hell no. It produced exactly the kind of moral outrage the City Commission wanted in order to justify its efforts to produce another bureaucracy – to spend more money. Did anyone in the mainstream press ask a question of either the City Commission or the Fair Housing Council of Oregon at the time of the publication of the audit? Hell no, much like the scandal surrounding admitted child molester Neil Goldschmidt, the mainstream media simply accepted and reprinted the official press releases of the city. Not until, Willamette Week, once again, did the hard work that the mainstream media should have done, was there any serious questions asked.

If this were Portlandia it would be another hilarious episode. But it isn’t. This is yet another instance in which the Portland City Commission spent taxpayer dollars to produce a study to justify a pre-ordained result – a result designed to solve a problem that does not exist by throwing money at an organization without accountability.

Look, there is racial discrimination in rental housing but it does not even approach the scale and alarm of the City Commission’s reaction. And most assuredly it does not approach a justification of spending $9 to 11 Million annually when a multitude of state and federal agencies are already effectively dealing with the problem.

This is liberalism gone wild. And those promoting it should be ashamed.


  • Notworking

    At least this free money will give people like me who are not working a chance at a decent life if they would hire us.

  • Marvin McConoughey

    The racial housing story put forth by the misnamed “Fair Housing Council” merits condemnation from all political points of view.  It is notable that not even one actionable case of intentional discrimination was found remaining after a quality review of the data.

    The director of the Fair Housing Council should be removed from that position and the organization given time to reorganize under new and more honest leadership.

  • Bob Clark

    Portland city hall and its good-cause-agencies lie and misrepresent facts pervasively.  Last year for instance the office of sustainability said in its press releases there is an island of plastic bags in the Pacific Ocean as large as the state of Texas and plastic bags were made from petroleum oil.  Even OSU and Green Peace environmental researchers couldn’t stomach this gross exaggeration about an island the size of Texas (and you’ll notice the Office dropped this assertion in its drive to ban plastic bags this year).  And plastic bags are made generally from a byproduct of natural gas, and not oil.

    Then most recently Portland city hall quoted a poll they conducted of a neighborhood which had volunteered for the reformulation of garbage service, dropping garbage can pick up to once every other week instead of weekly and pushing the recycling of kitchen food waste.  City hall officials said 87% of those polled wanted the reformulation.  But city officials did not net out of this figure those polled who were already satisfied with their existing service.  And besides, does anyone believe an 87% number, not even the “great” Obama got this kind of number in Portland (I don’t believe).  Not even Portlanders agree on much of anything at a rate above 70%, most local elections rarely show support over 70%.  (These guys aren’t even good liars, or mis-speakers.)

    Then there is the Portland Transportation department sending out bike association activists, which get some city money, to bike up and down Holgate street ever once in awhile while video taping it inorder to say bicyclists are using the Holgate bike lanes in significant numbers as planned.

    Of course, the Mayor himself lied to get elected (What’s bad is he didn’t even need to lie to get elected as he would have gotten elected anyways by just confessing).

    Stump town city hall and government are addicted to federal monies; and like addicts, these folks will use nazi media and PR techniques to get those funds.  Representative Blumenauer is their pusher.  Unfortunately, most all Portland residents will end up hurting if the “crack-like” largesse of federal monies are cut off, or even reduced.  So, naturally most Portlanders abhor the Tea Party, for raising the issue of fiscal prudence at the federal level. 

  • Watch demand for higher taxes on the people to meet this issue.   It should be known as a Fair Liberal Hiring Report.   If a conservative got on that board they would call him the racist.  The root of all the problems in the City.  

  • There is evidence of discrimination in the very air that liberals breathe. The liberal DNA needs examples of discrimination (real or imagined)  like drug addicts need their fix. Every hint of racism is subjected to embellishment and a teeth-gnashing fit. They remind me of miners gone mad from years of searching for the mother lode, who incessantly run to the assay office with shards of fool’s gold. That’s Portland. What is to be done about it?  Nothing for now. In time, the city will have to change or it will sink on its own accord.

  • Anonymous

    Is anyone really surprised…this, after all, is the Portland City Council we’re talking about here. This is the city council that promotes bumdom in Portland…that promotes bums taking a dump on the sidewalk…that allows bums to sprawl out on the sidewalks and panhandle the masses.

    Do you understand why I don’t live inside the Portland city limits? Do you understand why I won’t go downtown unless it’s absolutely necessary?

    Portland is something like 70 percent Democrat. There is no hope for the City of Portland.

    • valley person

      The city promotes bums taking a dump on sidewalks? Care to explain that one?

      Yes, Portland is hopeless. Too many liberals. Like Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, New York, Chicago, LA, and pretty much every major city in the US outside the south.  Nearly all the young, educated people living in these cities are liberals. What don’t they get? Why are they happy paying for their parents and grandparents retirement, while the latter want to screw the kids out of their own retirement by voting for the tea party?

      Its a mystery.

      • Anonymous

        What a buffoon. There’s nothing to explain about the bums taking a dump on the sidewalks. They just do their business whenever and wherever they get the urge.

        Yes, all of the cities you mention tend to be left of center…especially Chicago, where politics is probably still run by the mafia. But in New York they elected Rudy Giuliani and Los Angeles elected Richard Riordan…Portland would never elect a Republican. Even Frank Ivancie was a registered Democrat.

        So, it’s no mystery. None of the cities you mention is as far out in left field as is Portland.

        • valley person

          You said the city encourages them. I want to know how. And by the way, since you said you avoid going downtown, where is it you encounter sidewalk poop? I have a downtown office, am there several days a week, walk the streets a lot, and have yet to encounter sidewalk turds.  Anyway, assuming homeless people have the same bodily needs as the more fortunate, where would you have them do their duty, so to speak? 

          I didn’t know the mafia was left of center. Having grown up in Chicago, and having had a few run ins with minor mafiosi, I can’t recall them ever behaving very left. Quite the opposite. They are all about money and brute force and hierarchy. Those traits are more associated with the right.

          Portland elected Frank Ivanci some years back. Very Republican. Was appointed for a cushy job by Reagan after he lost re-election to a bar owner after pissing off most of the population.

          I’m surprised you think Portland is farther left than San Francisco.

          Oh, and I see you are back to name calling again. Very mature as usual.

          • Anonymous

            The city encourages this aberrant behavior by not discouraging it. And, BTW, there are public restrooms downtown…they’re a mess because the bums who do you them,abuse them. But they should use them rather than the sidewalks anyway. Your office obviously is not in the section of town frequented by the bums…down along Burnside where all of the social services are. I used to work downtown…this was 20 years ago and the problems existed then. I’m told by those who venture downtown the problems have only become much worse over the years.

            Actually, I don’t think the mafia has a political persuasion but Chicago politics is run by a bunch of crooks…they’re called Democrats. Your understanding of the right is full of crap. Yes, the right is about money but it’s about making money honestly not through crime. The right is not about brute force…and at least the right is not about overlooking the truth and stupidity.That’s the left.

            Yes, Bud Clark…one of Portland’s better mayors…was a Republican. Ivancie may have got an appointment from Reagan but he was still a Democrat.

            San Francisco is weird…no doubt about that…but Portland is just as weird,only in a different way…including it’s promotion of bums.

            I only called names to beat you to the punch.

          • 3H

            “I only called names to beat you to the punch.”

            That makes it right.. or justifiable?  So you have no ethical or moral code of behavior?  It’s all based on what the other guy is, in your mind, going to do?  How interesting.

          • Gary

            Sorry, but the guy is right and you are wrong.

          • Anonymous

            Why would I respond to a pathetic, deplorable, feeble-minded, lamentable, miserable, petty and wholly inadequate troll? That’s right, I won’t.

          • 3H

            No, talking to yourself would not be a good sign.

          • the real valley person

            More pre-emptive name calling? 

          • 3H

            (please note that even thought he was responding to me… and he said he won’t… that he was.  More Joel logic at work)

          • Anonymous

            Oh geez, I missed this line earlier:

            >>”Anyway, assuming homeless people have the same bodily needs as the more fortunate, where would you have them do their duty, so to speak?”

            Typical liberal…you actually defend bums crapping and pissing on the street.

          • 3H

            I heartily defend your right to crap and piss in public utterances.

          • Skip to Randy’s Loo

            3H, no doubt an admirer of Hubert Horatio Humphrey, OMG, Jimmy Carter, too –
            definitively “all (left wing) booster, no payload!”  >;~)=)

          • the real valley person

            Oh ok. I wasn’t aware that Portland didn’t bother to discourage sidewalk defecating. I guess they should put signs up on every building saying it is against the law, which it is.  And while they are at it, they can put up signs that shooting out windows, threatening people, stealing, and any number of things are against the law. Otherwise people might break the law and they could be accused of encouraging that.

            My office actually is in a part of town that has its share of “bums.” Nevertheless, I have yet to encounter what you claim is common. Not 20 years ago, not 30 years ago, and not today. I’m not saying it never ever happens, but its either pretty rare or I’m not looking in the right places (thank goodness).

            I don’t know who is telling you what, but clearly you aren’t speaking from first hand experience.

            The right is about making money honestly? On paper, sure. In reality, not so much. Though I will say that greed is not necessarily related to politics. There have been plenty of corrupt politicians of all persuasions, and plenty of corrupt business persons who favored one side or the other or both as the situation called for.

            Overlooking truth and stupidity? I’m not sure what that even means. If it means the right has some lock on truth and wisdom, and the left the opposite, its a debatable notion. I mean, which side puts up candidates who don’t even believe evolution is settled science? That is a twofer.

            Bud Clark was a Republican? That is interesting news. His temperment and politics and governing were certainly not anything like any Republican this side of McCall or Hatfield, but I suppose its possible he was registered as a Republican. Back in the day there were plenty of liberal Republicans in Oregon. And back in the day I voted for some of them.

            You only called names anticipating that I was going to call you a name? Again, that is playground logic. You can’t seem to help yourself. Point out a single instance when I called you or anyone else here a name.

          • just doing the math

            You seem to have a fascination with defecation. Why do you take these
            discussions and continually bring them down to feces? Never mind, I
            don’t really want to know.


    If a conservative
    doesn’t like guns, he doesn’t buy one. 

    If a liberal
    doesn’t like guns, he wants all guns outlawed. 


    If a conservative
    is a vegetarian, he doesn’t eat meat. 

    If a liberal is a
    vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for 


    If a conservative
    is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his 

    A liberal wonders
    who is going to take care of him. 


    If a conservative
    doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels. 

    Liberals demand
    that those they don’t like be shut down. 



    If a conservative
    is a non-believer, he doesn’t go to church. 

    A liberal
    non-believer wants any mention of God and Jesus silenced. 


    If a conservative
    decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping 
for it, or may choose a
    job that provides it. 

    A liberal demands
    that the rest of us pay for his. 

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