Anyone familiar with the Portland apartment market is well aware of the friction between tenants and building owners that arose in recent years. There are many underlying factors that contributed to these tensions that I will not dive in to. But, I believe this one graph perfectly sums up when and why the tension began.
The chart below from CoStar tracks Portland Rent Growth vs. Income Growth. From 2006 to mid-2014, rent growth and income growth moved mostly in tandem. However, starting in mid-2014 things changed and rent growth increased much faster than income growth. The graph shows an obvious divergence from mid-2014 though mid-2016. When looking at this graph, the anger felt by tenants in understandable.
According to CoStar, as of mid-2016 the trend appears to have reversed itself with rent growth dipping below income growth. However, the damage has been done and the tension between tenants and building owners doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon.