Senate Republicans call on Kroger and Avakian to battle racism in renting

Senate Republicans call for strict enforcement of Fair Housing Laws

Salem, OR – Following evidence of racial discrimination in renting practices revealed by a city of Portland audit, Senate Republicans are calling for more assertive enforcement of the state’s Fair Housing Laws. In a letter sent yesterday, Republicans asked Attorney General John Kroger and Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian to begin aggressively investigating and prosecuting violations of the Fair Housing Laws.

“Oregon was a trailblazer in the civil rights movement, adopting fair housing laws before it was a national trend,” said Senator Jackie Winters (R-Salem). “News of  this prejudice in Portland is disturbing, and proof that the battle against racism must be waged just as aggressively today as it was in the 1960s.”

A May 10th Oregonian article outlined a pattern of discrimination against African American and Latino renters in the Portland housing market. A city of Portland audit uncovered discrimination against renters in 64 percent of test cases.

Oregon has a strong set of laws prohibiting housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, and other classes of people. Instead of enforcing these current laws with citations and prosecution, the city of Portland is opting for a campaign of “education and cooperation.” Senate Republicans are asking statewide enforcement officials to take more assertive action against these law breakers.

A portion of the letter states, “This is not an isolated incident, the mere ignorance of one intolerant individual, but rather is evidence of a deeply rooted infection of prejudice that continues to run under the surface of our culture.  It is a sobering reminder that the scourge of racism was not defeated with the civil rights movement of the 1960s. We must continue to be alert to its presence and meet its ugly symptoms with intention and ferocity.”