United Way goes full politics, backs extreme rent control bill

By William MacKenize

The United Way has some good programs.  Offering rental assistance. I get it. Last-minute help to prevent evictions. Makes sense. But supporting rent control legislation. That’s over the line.

Not willing to leave the current bad enough rent control law alone, the Oregon legislature is back with Senate Bill 611 that would limit annual rent increases to 3% plus inflation or 8% total, whichever is lower. The exemption would apply to buildings 3 years old or newer.

The bill has the support of numerous progressive and social welfare groups, including United Way of the Columbia Willamette, which has apparently deluded itself into thinking social justice concerns override economic realities.

It has also apparently deluded itself into thinking it’s legitimate for a non-profit, which sustains itself on millions of individual and corporate contributions and says it is ”…deeply committed to helping create a just and equitable region where all people can thrive…” should advocate for legislation that contradicts economic realities and is opposed by property owners across the state?

United Way of Board members include:

  • Greg Geshel, Vice President Human Resources at Comcast
  • Ashlee Irwin, Medicaid Business and Strategy Consultant at Kaiser Permanente
  • Mahir Patel, Vice President of Pharmacy Services at PacificSource Health Plans
  • Tichelle Sorenson, Academic Director of the MBA Program at PSU
  • Layla Zare, Vice President and Relationship Manager at Bank of America
  • Kim Spalding, Senior Manager at Perkins & Co.
  • Charlene Zidell, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships & Family Vision at The Zidell Companies.

Do the employers who endorsed placement of all these people on United Way’s board support the deeply flawed rent control bill their employees are pressing so hard for?

Somebody should ask.