I read with great interest the editorial on rent control caps and voting “no” on Question A on Tuesday (Our View, June 6). As Swedish economist Assar Lindbeck said, “Next to bombing, rent control seems in many cases to be the most efficient technique so far known for destroying cities.”

Rent control has never and will never be a solution for rising rents. In the long term it lowers property values and leads to a lack of investment in building and maintaining housing stock as well as lower tax revenue. Lower tax revenue will lead to less public investment in schools and public programs and greater economic disparity in Portland. There is also no mechanism to ensure that the reduced rents will benefit low-income tenants or the unhoused.

What works? Public investment in housing, zoning reform that allows for higher density and incentives for builders to build more mixed-rate housing with steep penalties for any housing projects that are not mixed income. This, coupled with intelligent public transportation investments, will improve the lives of all Portland residents.

These reforms, while sound public policy, are often unpopular with NIMBY types as well as property developers. They offer the best way forward. Rent control will only lead to a city that will be less equitable for its citizens.

James Marshall

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