Election Season

Portland Musicians Rally for Affordable Housing with Oct 2 Benefit Gig

The Mississippi Studios show—featuring the likes of Kyle Morton, Mexican Gunfight, and Ashleigh Flynn—is in support of two November ballot measures.

By Emma Luthy October 2, 2018

Kyle Morton headlines Rockin' It for Affordable Housing

What do Typhoon’s Kyle Morton and election season have in common? One kick-ass musical evening organized as a benefit in support of two measures on the ballot in November. Engage in your civic duty and jam to some of the best local bands at Mississippi Studios tonight—Tuesday, October 2—at a “Rockin’ It for Affordable Housing” concert, hosted by Business for a Better Portland

This is BBPDX’s first-ever formal ballot endorsement, coming at a time when homelessness has become a hot-button issue. The event was organized to urge voters to support measures 26-199—an affordable housing bond— and 102, a constitutional amendment that would remove a block on local government working with non-profits and local businesses to build that housing in Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties.

“I think if you ask anyone in Portland what their top concern is, the vast majority of them are going to say housing and homelessness," says BBPDX's Ashley Henry. "The impact that the lack of affordable housing has on lower income populations and their inability to access any affordable housing and then ending up homeless creates the social crisis that we’re seeing today on our streets. Our member companies want to build businesses in a city that has a greater shared prosperity for everybody, not just the businesses themselves.”

Morton will be joined on the night by the Goods, Kasey Anderson, Mexican Gunfight, Casey Neil, Ashleigh Flynn, Tin Silver, and Jared Mees (co-owner of BBPDX member Tender Loving Empire). Keeping things political, the night's emcee will be commissioner Chloe Eudaly.  

Measure 26-199 is a bond to fund affordable housing for low-income families, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities, payable from taxes on property or property ownership. Measure 102 is a statewide amendment to the state constitution that currently prevents local government from using bond revenue to fund the construction of affordable housing without necessarily retaining complete ownership of that housing.

“If somebody is struggling to afford rent, often they have to make a couple choices. Either they’re going to pay rent or buy groceries or medicine. They don’t have additional spending power to be a customer for local businesses," says Yes for Affordable Housing spokesperson Amy Ruiz on why businesses are getting behind the ballot measures. "What’s just as important is that we know a lot of local businesses struggle to find employees who can afford to live in our area. [There’s] a business in Hillsboro that hires people at a pretty high wage—starting around $30 per hour—where people are telling them, over and over and over, 'I would love to do that job, but I just can’t find an affordable place to live for my family near work.' Affordable housing impacts just about everyone in our community.” 

If both measures are passed, supporters estimate that enough housing units will be built to help get 12,000 people—namely low-income families, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities—off the street and into a home. More information about the measures will be available at the venue. 

Rockin' It for Affordable Housing

6 p.m. Tue, Oct 2, Mississippi Studios, $15

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