Oregon, housing, public policy, rent control, economics, policy analysis, housing policy


Rent control policies are controversial. They create significant winners and losers and raise serious questions about the prioritization of certain segments of society with others and economic concerns with moral ones. With such dynamics, it is a given that there are no easy answers, at least not to those not given to ideological posturing. The fact is that housing is both an economic system and a human one, with very real ramifications for those involved, which just happens to be everyone.

In 2019, the State of Oregon passed SB-608, a bill intended to address two primary concerns: rental cost growth and tenant evictions. While the law applies to the entire state, it was largely a response to conditions in Oregon’s largest city and metropolitan area, Portland. In some ways, it follows a long line of rent control policies in place in many jurisdictions in the United States, but it differs markedly from most of these.

This report will lay out some of the basic dynamics that relate to short-run increases in demand and policies such as rent control meant to address them. It is frequently established in economic literature that rent control policies create inefficiencies in the housing market. Some of the most common will be addressed here, before concluding with an overview of SB-608 and how it relates to and addresses these concerns.

Publication Date

May 2021



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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.