Oregon Temporarily Halts Certain Residential Evictions in the Fight Against COVID-19

By Litigation Practice Group

On March 22, 2020, and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order No. 20-11 (the “Order”), which temporarily stops all residential evictions in the state based on the nonpayment of rent. Given the impacts that the novel infectious coronavirus has already had and will continue to have on Oregonians, the Order aims to both combat the spread of the virus and support Oregon renters who are struggling to pay their rent.

Specifically, the Order prohibits Oregon law enforcement officers from “serving, delivering or acting on any notice, order or writ of termination of tenancy or the equivalent in any judicial action” in a forcible entry and detainer (or eviction) proceeding for nonpayment of rent, late charges or utility charges. The Order does not apply to other bases for eviction. Violation of the Order is a Class C misdemeanor. The full text of the Order can be found here.

The Order, which is in effect for 90 days unless extended or earlier terminated, follows a separate order from the Oregon Supreme Court last week that postponed all pending first appearances and trials in eviction court and required landlords seeking an order that the tenant pay rent to file a special motion with the court. Collectively, the two orders have frozen evictions based on nonpayment of rent and similar charges.

Recognizing the burden that landlords will certainly face in light of the Order passing the costs of nonpayment on to them, the State is exploring solutions for relief that can be extended to Oregon landlords as well. At Saalfeld Griggs we continue to monitor developments in these unusual times and will provide updates as they are available.