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2017 Poster Contest Winners
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Young Artists Get it Right: There is No Room for Hate in Housing

By Allan Lazo, Fair Housing Council of Oregon Executive Director

One of the great joys of our work at the Fair Housing Council of Oregon is the emergence each year of the brightly colored art that springs from the hands, minds and hearts of young students from throughout the state during our Fair Housing Month poster competition.

The stacks of oft-idyllic scenes of diverse and inclusive neighborhoods that poured into our office answered this year's call to the theme "It's Fun Having All Kinds of Neighbors."

The poster competition entries from the hundreds of first- to eighth-grade students featured neighborhoods with bright green front lawns; single- and multi-family homes with smiling families peering out the front windows; and clean-swept neighborhood streets abounding with diverse neighbors of all ages, races, religions, disabilities, and genders.

(I do have to note that there also were more than a few entries that featured robots, rocket ships, creatures from outer space, and planets. I chalk that up to the fascinations of the young mind!)

Choosing a single image that best-represented our theme and delivered a clear message about fair housing from among all the wonderful entries wasn’t an easy task for our panel of judges. After hours of deliberations (and a tray full of snacks), they did make their selections, and you can see the grand prize recipient and other poster contest honorees in the accompanying newsletter article.

But as delightful as it is to spend the afternoon mired in the youthful optimism of these burgeoning artists, their artwork belies the harsh reality of a climate of hate that currently permeates a civil society for so many in our community, including the many inhabitants of the peaceful world depicted in their artwork.

In the early months of this year, as our country continues to heal from a divisive election season and grapple with a changing landscape, there has been a disturbing increase in the incidences of hate. These acts have targeted communities of color and immigrants or those perceived to be immigrants as well as members of the Muslim and Jewish faiths. Incidents have included hateful graffiti, sometimes spray-painted on homes.

According to a Willamette Week article earlier this month, “Oregonians Are Reporting More Hate and Bias Crimes Than Anyone in U.S.” The article notes that reporters “discovered that the state, ‘founded as a white haven,’ now leads the nation in hate crimes documented in a new data-gathering project from the investigative non-profit journalism website ProPublica, along with a consortium of news organizations, civil rights groups and universities.”

As a civil rights organization, we know all too well that these signs of hate underpin an environment in which discrimination in all forms, including in housing, could more easily manifest itself.

Our hotline phones have continued to ring. One recent complaint was from a couple that was told by a landlord that he would not rent to them because “they were Mexican,” and he was afraid they were going to physically harm him; or another resident who was told he would need to prove he was a legal U.S. resident before he could rent a privately held apartment.

If you are the victim of harassment in your home based on your membership in a protected class, there are protections for your right to housing free from harassment and discrimination under the federal Fair Housing Act.

In publishing its final rule on harassment in housing this past fall, HUD noted that they “and courts have long held that harassment in housing or housing-related transactions on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and familial status is prohibited under the Fair Housing Act.”

The final rule further clarified when “housing providers and other covered entities or individuals may be held directly or vicariously liable under the Fair Housing Act for illegal harassment or other discriminatory housing practices,” requiring housing providers to take prompt action to investigate incidents of harassment when they know of the discriminatory conduct.

With this final rule on harassment in housing, HUD has made it clear that, despite uncertain times, there is no room for hate in housing.

Support Civil Rights in Housing -- Please Donate
April is Fair Housing Month
President Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act into law on April 11th, 1968, making April the month we commemorate the anniversary of this auspicious event in American history.

Forty-nine years later we have come a long way toward eradicating housing discrimination. We now have laws on the books prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, familial status, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, source of income and history of domestic violence. Unfortunately, while we now have laws to protect us, discrimination persists and FHCO receives more than 2,000 calls annually on our discrimination hotline.


We are grateful for our 2017 fair housing month sponsors' generous financial support, this month, and all year round.

  • City of Gresham
  • Kell, Alterman & Runstein, LLP
  • Multifamily NW
  • Multnomah County
  • The Oregonian
  • Passadore Properties
  • Princeton Properties
  • RMLS


  • Bittner and Hahs
  • City of Beaverton
  • City of Corvallis
  • Clackamas County
  • KeyBank
  • Oregon Opportunity Network
  • Washington County

Fair Housing Champion

  • Dalton Properties
  • Documart
  • Garvey Schubert Barer
  • Home Forward
  • Kerr Properties
Sophia Jordan and Hannah Dirsa are the grand prize winners of the 2017 fair housing poster contest. Their entry will be printed and distributed throughout Oregon. See all of the winning entries here
April Activities
•   "Anywhere But Here" our travelling exhibit of Oregon's history of discrimination, will be up for public viewing:
March 31st -- April 8th, City of Grants Pass
April 14th -- April 21st, City of Beaverton, Office of Community Development
April 24th -- April 28th, City of Portland City Hall

•  April 11th -- FHCO's "It's Been a Bumpy Ride" bus tour season kicks off with the Portland Housing Bureau and other fair housing partners.
•  April 12th -- City Council of Portland will honor poster contest winners and issue a fair housing proclamation. 

•  Mayor of Eugene, Lucy Vinis, will be guest reading books with housing themes in city libraries.
April 4th -- Pajama Storytime (ages 0 - 6)
Tuesday, 6:30 pm, Eugene Public Library, Downtown Branch 
April 8 -- Cuentos y Canciones (Stories & Songs in Spanish)
Sábado, 11:15, Sucursal Bethel 
Saturday, 11:15, Bethel Branch Library 
En español para toda la familia. Grati

 April 22nd -- Latino Cultural Festival, Come see us from noon -- 5 pm, Hillsboro
 April 27th -- Free Landlord Training 4 - 8 pm, RSVP, free pizza, Corvallis
Oregon Historical Society Requests Proposals for Symposium on Housing, Civil Rights, and Race in Oregon

The 2018 fiftieth anniversary of the U.S. Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968) offers an opportunity to consider the broader histories of the ways legal and economic structures have dictated who is entitled to what spaces in Oregon. Signed into law in response to the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Fair Housing Act represents a flashpoint in the long history of ways that rights to housing have been racialized in the United States (and, indeed, in Oregon). 

The racialized nature of this history pertains to white persons and people of color, as housing discrimination policies and practices are designed to protect whiteness and its associated rights and privileges.  In Oregon, de jure exclusion from property ownership and access to particular spaces has been tied to race since the 1843 Oregon Provisional Donation Land Law. Oregonians, native and newcomer, have had their rights denied through processes such as treaty negotiations and through state and federal laws such as the 1857 Oregon State Constitution, the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, and the 1887 Dawes Act that substantially reduced Indian Reservations. Decades of struggle saw the passage of civil rights laws such as the 1953 Oregon Public Accommodations Act, the 1957 Oregon Fair Housing Act, and the 1968 Fair Housing Act. Across the same timeframe, financial speculation and predatory lending in land and housing has shaped unequal access to living space, property ownership, and wealth.

Working closely with advisers Dr. Karen Gibson and Dr. Carmen Thompson, the Oregon Historical Quarterly will consider this history in a public symposium tentatively scheduled for May 2018 and special issue of the journal to be published the following year. Proposals are due by Sunday, April 16, 2017. We encourage applications from individuals and groups with firsthand knowledge of these histories as well as from academics. Access the complete RFP and proposal instructions at: 

HUD's Lead Safe Housing Rule
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in August 2016 proposed to lower HUD’s threshold of lead in a child’s blood to match the level used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On January 13, 2017, HUD published an amendment to the Lead Safe Housing Rule on responding promptly to cases of children under age six living in certain categories of HUD-assisted housing who have elevated blood lead levels. Under this new proposal, the lead level in a child’s blood would be lowered from 20 micro-grams per deciliter of blood to 5 micro-grams.

For more information go to or call the Leadline at 503-988-4000.
Support Civil Rights in Housing -- Please Donate
Copyright © 2017 Fair Housing Council of Oregon, All rights reserved.

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Copyright © 2017 Fair Housing Council of Oregon, All rights reserved.

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