Sen. Boqusit: Walkout M113 update, PDX cost by comparison, more

By Oregon State Senator Brian Boquist
Highlights, excerpts from Sen. Boquist newsletter

— Recently, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the 10 senators who denied quorum last long session are unable to run for reelection. As one Senator said, “If the Oregon Supreme Court or Legislature wanted to change the quorum issue, they could’ve made the quorum rules a simple majority [rather than attacking sitting legislators’ free speech and right to protest as Measure 113 did]. What we see instead is a judicial tragedy that does not bode well for common-sense, free-speech or justice in Oregon.”


— Still fighting for theirs and their voters’ constitutional rights, Senator Boquist (I-Dallas) and Senator Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) were in front of the Ninth Circuit Court last Friday to present their case against Measure 113 and for Free Speech. A decision will be handed down by March 1.


— The Oregon Legislature is back in session for the February short session. The Senate Minority Caucus priorities are listed here. The short session is primarily reserved for minor budgetary adjustments, but the Democrats, the party that has controlled Oregon for decades, are prioritizing addressing the housing shortage and addiction crisis.


— OPB reports: “Gov. Tina Kotek has proposed a $500 million package to spur housing development and another $100 million that would go toward homeless services — including ensuring shelters can remain open as pandemic-era spending dries up. That’s a major spending proposal for a “short” session that is typically reserved for relatively minor budget adjustments. Kotek has also suggested the state could forgo a regular 1% payment into budget reserves — currently set at $318 million — in order to pay for her priorities.”


— There is a massive disconnect in America over the cost of living and income. For example, Portland is 145 square miles. In researching homes for sale across the largest real estate platforms (, Zillow and Redfin) in the Portland area, there were TWO homes that met the same search criteria (based roughly on the norms for a middle class home). The search criteria was as follows: $250,000-$375,000, with 2+ bedrooms and 2+ bathrooms, with 2,000 square feet. (some platforms showed listings of bare plots of land in these search inquiries, but they are not included in the final tally of TWO).


— With this in mind, Portland is clearly expensive. To rent a home in Sellwood, one of the ritzier areas of the city, is roughly $4,000 a month. Who can afford that? According to this news report from KOIN based on a study by Pew Research, if you are making between $29,100 and $87,200 per year, then you’re in the middle class. One of the two homes found in the search above shows an optimistic monthly estimated payment of $3,105 to pay for the home. This number is based on the 20% put down, or $74,000. Who has $74,000 cash laying around? Then this is where loans with massive interest rates come in.


— If an Oregonian is on the upper end of middle class and bringing in $87k a year, that averages out to around $7,000 a month. The above housing payment is close to half of the monthly expenses – gone, out the door. Add a car payment or tuition loan of $500, an average daycare cost of $1,400 per month (assuming this person has one child), a $162 electric bill, trash at $33, sewer at $86, internet for an average of $60 a month, and the $400 average cost of food per month, and this income-earner has just over $1,000 of disposable income each month. One thousand dollars a month means this person is likely not saving for retirement unless their job offers a retirement plan, and then the monthly take-home would be less. The $1,000 is spoken for if this person has any medical conditions, subscriptions to things like Netflix or HBO, or a Starbucks reliance. All this to say, if $87,000 is considered the upper-end of “middle class” in America, how on earth are people who are bringing home $37,000 a year (the average income for Portland) making it work? Someone making $37,000 a year is bringing home roughly 3,000 a month, meaning they could not buy a home in Portland. A recent survey shows the majority of Portlanders think the city is going in the WRONG direction.

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