48 T echnology has always been one of the greatest allies in the collective quest to improve our world. In Oregon, homebred changemakers are rethinking, redesigning and rebuilding the future, and the human element is key to solving some of today’s most pressing challenges. The people behind the technology are as important as the technology itself, and Oregon has long been a hotbed for innovative, outside-of-the-box thinking. From addressing the challenges of the modern rental market to improving our digital future and developing new forms of battery power, Oregonians today are at the forefront of using technology to address big issues. Simplifying the renting process for all T o say that the national rental housing market is competitive is an understatement. Matters become more complicated when renters are bombarded with prerequisites, questionnaires, background checks and fees—a lot of fees. Every time someone applies to rent a property, it’s another $30 or $50, whether they are successful or not. For many people living on a fixed income, this process is simply not a viable option. Tyrone Poole, Creator of NoAppFee Tyrone Poole, the creator of NoAppFee, can relate. Nine years ago, an injury left him incapacitated for nearly a year. As his medical debt soared, he was evicted from his home and moved into a YWCA homeless shelter. His experience inspired him to find a way to simplify the renting process, and NoAppFee was born. Instead of paying multiple housing application fees, tenants pay a single $35 fee. NoAppFee runs a background check and matches tenants and landlords that meet each other’s criteria. “It can be extremely expensive and time-consuming to search multiple websites, travel to a variety of properties, and pay each set of application fees,” Poole said. “In fact, the process is so difficult that many families are homeless because they are unable to navigate the process.” With the thousands of variations in screening criteria throughout the city, NoAppFee allows renters to instantly see every property they qualify for and learn why they did not qualify for other properties. “It provides complete transparency to such an ambiguous process,” said Poole.