Published: January 31, 2023

After emerging from our comprehensive endorsement process, SEIU members helped elect Governor Tina Kotek because she had a proven track record of solving problems and standing by us. We donated small dollars pooled together that grew into large donations to fight back against billionaires and corporate interests. In the final 10 days of the General Election alone, we made over 52,000 phone calls and knocked on over 50,000 doors to help ensure that Tina won because we believed that she was the right person to tackle Oregon’s biggest challenges, challenges like our housing crisis. 

On her first day in office, Governor Tina Kotek signed three executive orders aimed at addressing Oregon’s housing and homelessness crisis:  declaring a homelessness state of emergency, directing state agencies to prioritize reducing homelessness in all areas of the state, and setting an ambitious state target to increase home construction. 

Executive Order No. 23-02 declares a state of emergency due to homelessness in regions of the state that have experienced an increase in unsheltered homelessness of 50% or more from 2017 to 2022:  

  • Medford, Ashland/Jackson County (132%) 
  • Portland Metro region (50.4%) 
  • Central Oregon (86%) 
  • Eugene, Springfield/Lane County (110%) 
  • Salem/Marion, Polk Counties (150%) 

Executive Order No. 23-03 directs state agencies to prioritize reducing homelessness in all areas of the state using their existing statutory authorities.  

Executive Order No. 23-04 establishes a statewide housing production goal of 36,000 per year and creates the Housing Production Advisory Council to develop comprehensive budget and policy recommendations to meet that goal. Governor Kotek’s office says that goal is an 80% increase over recent construction trends, “and it will take an ongoing commitment from local, state, federal, nonprofit, and private sectors to move toward this target.”  

The Governor also proposed an urgent $130-million investment to help at least another 1,200 Oregonians experiencing “unsheltered homelessness move off the streets within a year; expand shelter capacity by 600 beds; and prevent homelessness for more than 8,000 households.” 

“People are currently becoming homeless faster than we have been able to rehouse people living outside,” said Governor Kotek. “We must do all we can to address and prevent homelessness so we can make progress toward not just ending homelessness for individual families, but for communities across the state. This is only the first step, and it is going to take collaboration and commitment across local, state, federal, nonprofit, and private sectors to make sure we are acting at the scale and urgency this humanitarian crisis demands.” 

This is only the first step. Our union has endorsed a series of bills this legislative session that will complement the Governor’s executive orders by making rent more affordable and helping Oregonians stay in their homes. You can find out more about these bills here.  

Ending our housing crisis will take everyone. You can do your part today by sharing your story of housing insecurity or concerns around housing costs to help pass this crucial legislation: Click here to take action today!