Tamara Rubin co-owns PDXGreenRentals with her husband Leonard. She is the National Healthy Homes Hero, an award given to her in 2011 by a consortium of federal agencies: CDC, EPA, HUD, USDA & USDoE – for her volunteer advocacy work in the area of childhood lead poisoning prevention.
When Tamara & Len’s children were lead-poisoned in their historic Irvington home in 2005 they had a lot of difficulty finding a short-term place to stay with the children while they worked on cleaning up the hazards at their primary residence. Not only was it hard to find places available on a short-term furnished basis, but landlords openly (illegally) discriminated against the couple because they had children.
The Rubins were shocked by the blatant discrimination combined with lack of available appropriate lead-safe (“green” ) properties to rent (they found a couple of properties that would accept them with kids, but those properties had their own lead-hazards, having been recently renovated without the use of lead-safe work practices.)
As a result the Rubins chose to buy an alternate temporary place to live while they worked on cleaning up the hazards at their primary residence. The “Rainbow House” (1025 NE Beech, Portland, OR 97212) was convenient, centrally located, a single-family dwelling and – most important – built in 1989, more than a decade after the 1978 ban in lead in residential house-paint.
After the Rubin family no longer needed it for themselves they began renting it short-term furnished to other families (usually with pets and children) that found themselves in the same situation they were in in 2005; either in transition while they did work on their home – or in transition as a result of a recent move to Portland.
Over the years, Len & Tamara have owned six homes in Portland. They have been landlords of furnished short-term rental properties (in Portland and California) for more than 15 years. Now they intentionally focus on “green” homes: newer construction (no lead paint), bamboo floors, natural wood and cotton materials and finishes. They also only choose homes in the best neighborhoods – with great “walk-scores”, walking distance (of a block or two or three) to parks, libraries, shops, cafes, restaurants and within easy public transportation distance to downtown. Finally only green-cleaning agents and practices and low-or-no-scent products are used in the homes to make sure they are acceptable to even scent-sensitive (adult or children) tenants.
Families with children and pets are welcome and encouraged to apply. Single people and roomie situations are welcome too.
Tenants have ranged from professionals relocating to the areas, to grandparents coming to visit for the summer or winter holidays, to wedding parties, to local families needing a temporary short-term alternate space, to groups of interns or contract workers with Nike or Adidas here for a two or three month internship, to families of patients undergoing long-term care, transplants or therapies at OHSU.