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Eviction -- Oregon -- Economic aspects, Housing -- Law and legislation -- Oregon, Eviction -- Oregon -- Statistics


In an effort to mitigate the impacts of the Covid-19 public health emergency, throughout 2020 and into 2021 novel public health emergency programs were initiated, including a variety of federal, state, and local ‘moratoriums’ on residential evictions for nonpayment of rent. As the moratoria began to sunset, additional ‘post-pandemic’ eviction diversion and tenant protection programs were created to buffer the ‘tsunami’ of evictions that were expected.

Oregon’s eviction diversion program, the so-called ‘safe harbor period’ for nonpayment eviction cases, was put into place in July 2021 to maintain some protections for tenants after the state moratorium on nonpayment evictions ended. The key provision of Oregon’s ‘safe harbor’ provision is a delay in eviction proceedings for tenants who have provided proof that they have applied for emergency rent assistance through the Oregon Emergency Rent Assistance Program (OERAP). The ‘safe harbor’ lasts for 60 to 90 days, a time period meant to give enough time for funds from OERAP to be disbursed to the landlord for any rent owed, current and arrears, at which point they should return to court to have the case dismissed. If rent assistance has not been approved and paid, the eviction proceedings can resume.

This research tracks Oregon eviction cases from July through September, 2021, to assess the implementation of the safe harbor policy. This research examines each stage of the eviction process to assess how knowledge, communication, and power affect eviction and tenant displacement. We collect data for the 1,138 nonpayment evictions at each documented stage of the eviction process including: court filing data; document review; and courtroom observation of cases (in Multnomah County only).

Key outcomes of Oregon eviction cases:

  • Only 27% of tenants with nonpayment eviction cases got the ‘safe harbor’ setover. The final outcomes of these ‘safe harbor’ cases remain unknown until they return to court after their setover expires.
  • At least 29% of tenants were displaced by eviction cases when we account for judgments for eviction for default or non-compliance with stipulated agreements, and other judgments without safe harbor.
  • 25% of cases ended in a default judgement against a tenant for failure to appear at one of their court dates.
  • 10% of tenants made stipulated agreements without using the tenant protections available by law. Agreements included requiring tenants to repay current and/or back rent; and included move-out dates that could have been prevented with the safe harbor law.
  • 32.7% of nonpayment were dismissed. A case dismissal appears to be a positive outcome for a tenant; there is no eviction judgment and the record of the case can be expunged. However, we observed that in many dismissed cases, the tenant does not remain housed.


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