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Report: Cost of Renting Up Again in OR, Many Families Struggling

April 22, 2010

PORTLAND, ORE. - Higher prices for rent continue to force Oregon families to choose between paying rent, putting food on the table, and paying utility bills. That's according to a new study -- released by Oregon's Housing Alliance and the National Low-Income Housing Coalition -- that reports another increase in rental costs in Oregon. The typical renter in the state earns $12.84 per hour, which is $2.09 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest unit.

Cathey Briggs, with the Oregon Opportunity Network, says the new data is troubling because housing is a key step to building better lives for Oregonians.

"Yet, what this report shows, that in Oregon an estimated 45 percent of renters don't earn enough income to afford a two-bedroom unit at the 'fair market rent.'"

The average fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Oregon is $776 - that's up 27.5 percent since 2000. Lincoln County Commissioner Bill Hall says it's hard for many households to keep up.

"In the past year, rural Oregon has seen huge increases to the number of children and families experiencing homelessness. If we want kids to succeed in school, or parents to succeed in the workplace, people need a place to call home."

Janet Byrd, chair of the Housing Alliance, says all too often the past few years, Oregon families have been forced to choose between rent and food.

"The on-going recession and increasing rate of foreclosures in Oregon continues to make it difficult for hard working Oregonians to find a safe, affordable place to call home."

This year, Oregon is the twenty-sixth most expensive state in the nation for renters. Cathey Briggs says the increases are an alarming trend for a state with unemployment at 10.6 percent, and where the number of homeless children attending schools has more than doubled since 2003.

The report is available at

Eric Mack, Public News Service - OR