Portland Landlords, Tenants Face Off Over Ballot Measure To Stem Rent Hikes

After almost a decade of red-hot growth, rents in Portland may have reached a plateau. But it’s a high plateau, and one group is trying to put a lid on it with a proposed ballot item to limit rent hikes and create a tenant-dominated oversight board.

The measure faces opposition from a well-financed campaign by landlords and, perhaps less intuitively, some advocates of affordable housing.

Winston Lumpkins was 21 when he arrived in Portland almost five years ago, with a dream of making it in the city’s charismatic culinary scene. He got an $11-an-hour baking job, and he’s making more now. But he has hopped through a series of rooms rented in city apartments, chased from one to the next, he says, by rent hikes every six months or so of 10 percent and sometimes more.

Fred Bever

Maine Public