The Portland Tenants Union represents a wider fight against the substandard living conditions that many people living in the SRO's owned and managed by non-profit corporations experience. They have shown that to unify and demand basic rights from their landlord can create change. Support for the PTU means support for tenant and human rights; in the Downtown Eastside and everywhere else.
The Portland Tenants Union recently formed in response to a broken elevator in their place of residence, the PHS' Portland Hotel in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The elevator went unrepaired by PHS for over 5 months in the 9-storey building and has greatly impacted the lives of all of the residents, over half of whom are disabled. Tenants were stuck in their rooms, made to navigate the 9 flights of stairs with wheelchairs or crutches, or forced to leave their homes.
In February, Portland tenants marched to the PHS headquarters with a list of demands. The primary demand was to fix the elevator. Tenants’ other demands included:
* PHS recognize the Portland Tenant Union
* displaced tenants be returned to their homes
* compensation for neglect and loss of use of their units
* a plan for when the elevator is replaced
* ensure disabled tenants who were relocated because of the elevator outage can return to the building
* clean up the courtyard
* improved fire safety
After showing up on their doorstep, PHS sprung into action, and the elevator was repaired the following day. However, PHS acknowledges the fix is impermanent, and the tenants will assuredly be again without an elevator.