On December 22nd 2020, at approximately 10:36 p.m., North Precinct officers responded to the 1100 block of Northeast Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard on reports of an individual who had been struck in the head with a baseball bat. Officers arrived on scene and learned a victim was walking down the street when they were struck on the head by an unknown male with a baseball bat. An intricate description of the suspect was given to officers by the victim. After hearing the description of the suspect, officers conducted an area check but were unable to locate him.
On December 23, 2020, at approximately 12:02 a.m., North Precinct officers responded to the Rosa Parks Transit Station located in the 6500 block of North Interstate Avenue on reports of an individual who had attacked several people with a baseball bat. Officers arrived on scene and learned an individual with a baseball bat had struck two victims as well as broke a TriMet Max Train window. The individual had left the scene prior to officer's arrival and was not located. The victims told responding officers that the suspect had struck them with a baseball bat on the shoulders and head as they exited the Max Train. The description given to officers of the suspect matched that of the suspect from the earlier call on Northeast Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard. Both victims were treated at an area hospital for the injuries they sustained during the incident.
Later in the morning, Central Precinct officers received separate calls of an individual attacking people with a baseball bat near the 500 block of Northeast Glisan Street. When officers arrived on scene, they were unable to locate the suspect or any victims. At 11:53 a.m., another call came in regarding the same individual and officers were able to locate and contact him. The suspect, 53-year-old Trendlon Deneishel Kimp Brewer, was wearing a backpack which had a baseball bat sticking out from inside of it. As officers took Brewer into custody, he swung at an officer, striking their cheekbone. The officer sustained a minor injury.
Brewer was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of three counts of Assault 2, three counts of Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Assaulting a Public Safety Officer, Interfering with a Peace Officer, and Disorderly Conduct II.
The investigation of these incidents continues to be ongoing. It is believed there may be more victims that may not have reported a similar incident.
Look for the party in power to move bills on this.
What is Extended Producer Responsibility? This is the latest buzz phrase for the 2021 session. The EPR could just as easily stand for Environment Production Restrictions. The concept requires manufacturers to manage or pay for the full life cycle of a product, known as managing the product from “cradle to grave.”
Initially, the concept was created to help manage products that are difficult or hazardous to dispose of such as batteries, paint, mattresses, and electronics. Recently plastics has been on the agenda. EPR operates by requiring consumers to pay a transparent fee at the point of purchase that covers the cost of disposal or recycling of the product. It became complicated when paint was added as an EPR.
In 2009 Oregon became the first state in the nation to enact a law requiring architectural paint manufacturers to start a program to reduce paint waste, increase reuse and recycling, and safely dispose of remaining unusable paint and other coatings. It was designed to coordinate with local waste collection programs, saving local governments money in transportation and disposal costs. The paint EPR started as a pilot and now is managed by a third party, PaintCare, that provides outreach and consumer education. Paint is a waste hazard that makes up the largest volume of household waste. The program resolved waste of an estimated 750,000 gallons of unused paint per year.
The proposed EPR program has no standards for being a hazard or being difficult to dispose. It proposes that businesses manage all aspects of recycling materials with no shared responsibility with consumers or recyclers. A good program must have shared responsibility between all parties, improve recycling and the supporting infrastructure, improve product packaging, and educate consumers on recycling.
Opposition from local governments could be strong not wanting to increase costs for rate payers, and waste haulers will not want to lose potential revenue. Materials that have developed their own avenue for disposal will want an exclusion: glass will want out because of the bottle bill. Metals and paper will want out because of developed markets and plastics will have concerns about the cost of the program.
EPR makes some sense with high-hazard, low-value items such as used car batteries. It makes less sense with low-hazard items such as plastic. As with single-use shopping bags, legislation puts a mandated price on the item, stripping free market decisions from businesses. The concept is an environmental push to control the ingenuity of the free market and makes little sense while businesses struggle to recover from multiple shut-downs.
As lockdowns continue to put pressure on small businesses -- causing over one quarter of them to fold since the start of the COVID-19 epidemic -- another shoe is dropping for the new year. Unemployment insurance rates are going up and are expected to increase for over 85% of businesses in the state.
In Oregon, as in many states, the unemployment compensation system is run as an insurance system in which employers pay a percentage of the employee's salary into a fund from which unemployment benefits are paid out when an employee becomes unemployed. The percentage is based on an experience rating -- or how often and how much employees of the employer access the fund -- and for new employers without any experience rating, the rate is 2.6%.
It works much like car insurance. If you get a lot of accidents and tickets, your insurance rates go up. Just as the fear of rising car insurance rates will keep most drivers in line, fear of rising unemployment insurance rates will cause employers to monitor their behavior with their employees to minimize rate increases.
At this time, businesses -- especially small businesses -- are having a hard time with the increases. First, the lockdowns have placed many of them in a position of hardship and having an increase in any expense is tough on them. Then, businesses point out that the unemployment that they've had recently was out of their control and shouldn't fairly reflect in their experience rating. In their recent unemployment report the Oregon Employment Department noted that the unemployment rate in Oregon dropped below the national rate in November 2020, but dark clouds loom.
“On Nov. 18th, Oregon implemented a ‘freeze’ to combat the rise of COVID-19 in the state. This employment press release covers Oregon’s employment situation just prior to the ongoing freeze, which has affected employers and tens of thousands of workers in recent weeks,” said Gail Krumenauer, State Employment Economist with the Oregon Employment Department. The November jobless drop was based on 4,200 jobs. Job losses in the "tens of thousands" will again put Oregon out of step with the rest of the nation.
It's becoming increasingly hard to fathom the cruelty of a state which mandates a shutdown, impairing the ability of businesses to make money and then, as if to rub salt in the wound, the same state that mandated the shutdown raises your rates.
Must be owned by people who identify as LGBTQ+, BIPOC, or both
According to the web page for Clackamas County, "In recognition of the disparate impact that COVID has had on LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities, the Clackamas County Queers and Allies Employee Resource Group has reallocated the funds that would have supported our participation in the Portland Pride Parade to support local business." LGBTQ+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Queer. BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous and People of Color. The county will make a one-time award to one business that matches their eligibility and preference criteria.
To be eligible, a business must be:
Owned by people who identify as LGBTQ+, BIPOC, or both
Located in Clackamas County
Experiencing a COVID-19-related hardship
Preference may be given to:
Owners with intersectional identities
Businesses providing critical services to marginalized communities
The project is being driven by Clackamas County Queers and Allies Employee Resource Group.
The application for the award asks applicants to tell "a little bit about the identities of the business owner(s) and how they meet our criteria (LGBTQ+ and/or BIPOC), as well as intersectional marginalized identities (i.e. class, gender, ability, etc.)," but does not indicate that any supporting documentation or proof will be required. The Oregon Health Authority reports statistics on cases, hospitalizations and deaths on their website by race, but it's not clear what the statistics and claims for LGBTQ+ persons are based on.
As families, communities and businesses continue to recover from September’s devastating wildfires, FEMA’s Direct Temporary Housing mission, providing temporary housing to qualified disaster survivors in Jackson, Lincoln, Linn and Marion Counties, moves steadily forward.
Thirty-three Jackson County families whose homes were severely damaged or destroyed by this year’s wildfires have been licensed-in to temporary housing units from FEMA. These units are placed in established RV parks in Central Point and Gold Hill. At the Gold Hill site, thirty-nine units are in various stages of installation and three families have already been licensed-in.
In Marion and Linn counties, two construction projects for temporary housing group sites are scheduled to begin in early January. In Lincoln County, FEMA is in the process of negotiating a lease for one site to place temporary housing for the approximately 20 eligible families in that county.
Beginning Christmas Eve, Jackson County survivor families will start licensing-in at FEMA’s first group site in White City. This site will hold 23 mobile homes, several of which have been built to meet the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standard for persons with disabilities or Access and Functional Needs.
Currently, some 220 qualified families are scheduled to receive FEMA Direct Temporary Housing in the four counties. The current number of qualified families has fallen as many households that qualified for this assistance have located alternate temporary or permanent housing on their own.
Direct Temporary Housing is provided to survivors for up to 18 months from the date of the disaster declaration (March 2022).
Kate Brown claims schools can reopen -- maybe February
The trap is set...
On Monday December 21, 2020, a bill was passed in the legislature's third special session granting limited liability to K-12 public and private education facilities. HB 4402 "limits liability of school districts, union high schools, education service districts, public charter schools, private schools providing instruction to any grade from kindergarten through grade 12 and community colleges for certain claims arising during COVID-19 emergency period. Prohibits certain private employers from engaging in retaliatory conduct relating to protected activities taken by employee during COVID-19 emergency period. Declares emergency, effective on passage".
The bill is equal parts whistleblower protection and limited liability for schools from anything COVID-19 related. The bill provides protection from retaliation for any employee of private employers who report COVID-19 related violations of policy or guidance. Within 48 hours, clarity regarding why whistleblower protection was added became a bit clearer.
On the heels of this, Oregon Governor Kate Brown made a joint announcement with the Oregon Department of Education giving back certain decision making powers over to local control. The announcement claims that "effective January 1, 2021, Oregon’s COVID-19 Health Metrics for Returning to In-Person Instruction will become advisory rather than mandatory. Moving forward, the decision to resume in-person instruction must be made locally, district by district, school by school. In addition to schools continuing to adhere to required health and safety protocols and working in close consultation with their local public health authority in understanding and considering the metrics, teachers, school staff, parents and students should be engaged in this decision-making process to allow schools to make the best choice for their community and their students."
But there's a caveat. In order to maintain limited liability status, educational institutions will be required to meet the new metrics, and recommendations of the Ready Schools Safe Learners guidance handbook.
Exposure has been redefined to mean "An individual who has close contact (less than 6 feet) for longer than 15 cumulative minutes in a day with a person who has COVID-19 case"(emphasis added). Additionally, metrics have moved away from positive case counts to include "County Case Rate", and "County Case Count". The rate or count is a total number of both presumptive and positive cases for the entire county. The Oregon Health Authority stopped disclosing false positive and negative test data months ago, and as new trackers and tracers are hired, anyone who has potentially had exposure is a new case until the currently approved PCR testing, claims otherwise.
Essentially Johnny might be a presumptive case, and Susie stands next to Johnny for five minutes while lined up to walk inside school. Johnny and Susie spend another ten minutes near each other – at less than 6ft apart – and bam! Susie is now a new COVID-19 case due to the new definition of exposure, which is no longer dependent on positive test results. We've effectively kicked the goalposts down field from measuring death, to positive tests, and now to 15 cumulative minutes in a day near someone who might have COVID-19. How would these interactions be traced or even reported? Perhaps by a disgruntled employee? Maybe a teacher or substitute teacher who disagrees with the return to in-person instruction? The whistleblower protection aspect of HB4022 ensures no retaliation for those employed by private (not public) employers. Questions remain regarding private faith-based teaching institutions, and whether these increasingly bizarre metrics or employee protections place a target on faith-based, in-person teaching.
Puzzling to some observers was the participation in this conversation by the Oregon Education Association which was widely believed to have opposed HB 4402, presumably based on their desire to keep schools closed until their demands for even more money are met. Indeed, some insiders reported that Speaker Kotek misrepresented the number of votes she had for passage of the bill, hoping to get Republicans to vote yes, so that more Democrats could vote against the bill -- supporting the wishes of the OEA and the Trial Lawyers' Association, both big donors to Democrats.
Ultimately the decision will be left to local superintendents and school boards. However, if they make the wrong decision, they might just lose their liability insurance or indemnification.
This feels like an appropriate time to remind readers that the directors of the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Education – Governor Brown's so called "experts" – were appointed to their positions by Brown. Pat Allen of the OHA is no more a Doctor or Scientist, than Colt Gill the ODE director is an educator.
Just in case you're quietly shaking your head, wondering which Loony-Toon character is creating these policies, don’t question your own sanity.
During its most recent meeting, the Oregon Growth Board (OGB) committed $350,000 to the Include Venture Group for its new Black Founders Matter Fund I (BFM). The investment represents the latest effort by the Board to leverage the Oregon Growth Fund (OGF) to support local emerging fund managers. The Oregon Growth Board is staffed by Business Oregon, and Business Oregon manages the programs overseen by the Board.
Recently founded by Himalaya Rao-Potlapally and Marceau Michel, Include Venture Group is launching a series of Venture Capital funds seeking to invest mainly in under-served and underrepresented entrepreneurs in Oregon. BFM’s mission is to demonstrate — through capital returns — the ability of Black and minority entrepreneurs to help to solve societal problems through their innovative and differently-lived perspective. The fund aims to add diversity into a largely non-diverse funding ecosystem.
“This is a big step forward for our Fund and our state,” said Marceau Michel, co-founder of Include Venture Group. “Partnering with OGB has been a goal since the inception of our Fund. We appreciate their confidence in ...investing in Black and under-served entrepreneurs. As Oregon continues to create more economic opportunities for all — especially those historically left behind — this investment in our Fund encourages us for what the future holds. We are looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship with OGB.”
The OGF is the Board’s prime economic development tool, it’s been used to fund Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), and other approaches to support Oregon entrepreneurs. First-time fund managers traditionally struggle to fund-raise due to a lack of an established track record, so the OGF invests in promising emerging fund managers to help them overcome that.
Reacting to the COVID crisis in March they forgave outstanding loans to CDFI partners.
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Critics of Oregon's current leadership have expressed skepticism of whether this is such a good idea, and that it may be another well intended government failure in the works. Perhaps the free market is not as broken as some community organizers would like others to believe. This investment seems in line with much recent legislation championed by Oregon Democrats, a party that is growing increasing out of touch with the average Oregonian.
The Polk County Board of Commissioners has released the following statement:
The Polk County Board of Commissioners would like to encourage city, county and state officials, as well as local chambers, councils and business leaders, to join us in supporting the business reopening plan recently submitted to Oregon’s Governor and state lawmakers by the Oregon State Chamber of Commerce (OSCC). The clear and concise plan details the basis for this timely and profound recommendation that aims to help our businesses hardest hit by COVID-19, to pull through this economic recession and overcome their financial hardships.
“The last nine months have been challenging. As County Commissioners we share the frustration that our local businesses, families and residents are dealing with. Now more than ever our local businesses need all of our support. Today, I am asking you to join us in supporting the plan presented by the Oregon State Chamber of Commerce. It is a statewide effort that is focused on positive results for our local business communities.” Commented Commissioner Lyle Mordhorst.
Many of our small business communities have been the unfortunate victims of this pandemic, and they need your attention and support right now! While there have been some City, County, State and Federal COVID-Relief loans, grants and programs offered, there has simply not been enough funding to go around, or really help these businesses survive this storm. Click here for the link to read the entire statement and plan. Below is an excerpt of the conclusion and proposed plan from the OSCC statement.
“The Oregon State Chamber of Commerce (OSCC) is stating as clearly and plainly as possible: Local businesses need to be made whole, and they need to be able to re-open for business now.
The Oregon State Chamber of Commerce comes to this conclusion by way of the following:
Our businesses have been extremely responsible to our community and to the Covid-19 guidance coming from the state. The recent adoption of the Oregon OSHA Covid-19 Standard further means that Oregon workplaces are some of the safest and most sanitary places for customers and employees to be. Public health officials have been clear that Covid-19 is spreading in Oregon for reasons unrelated to our businesses being open.
Our local businesses deserve the same consideration as the large corporations that have prospered due to elimination of small business competition and our government employees that have been kept whole. The shutdown of our local businesses has paved the way for corporate giants to profit in the absence of thriving local business communities. Similarly, the Governor has made every effort to keep public employees drawing full paychecks. The “forgotten” people in this state have been our local businesses and their employees who have been crushed by their state government and left to fend for themselves.
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The remedies to small businesses currently being offered by the State are completely inadequate. Last week’s distribution of $20 million of small business grants by Business Oregon closed after 15 minutes due to over-subscription. Similarly, the $55 million offered this past week by Governor Brown is wholly inadequate to match the current devastation in our local business communities. The economic damage to our local businesses and families is in the billions of dollars, not millions.
Shutdowns are sending our employees into a failed state unemployment system that has a history of failing to deliver timely benefits. This is disastrous for our valued employees and completely avoidable if they were simply allowed to work and earn their paychecks.
To help give our local businesses equal consideration, the OSCC and our Chamber members across Oregon are calling for:
Immediate re-opening of all Oregon businesses.
Substantial remedies to our local businesses that have been forced to shut down through no fault of their own as the state has deprived these businesses and employees of their livelihoods.
A $75 million Hospitality Relief fund dedicated to helping our state’s restaurants and hospitality businesses recover.
A Moratorium on new or increased taxes and fees at the state and local level. Whether direct or indirect, these increase the cost of business and further deprive our businesses of cash flow.
Stabilization of the commercial rental market through a short term tax credit for property owners that are willing to waive debt for commercial tenants that are behind on rent.
“OSCC is calling on Governor Brown and lawmakers to give local businesses and their employees the same consideration given to others during the Covid-19 pandemic. Local businesses and their employees have shouldered the largest costs imposed by state government and now is the time to help them recover.”
Oregon House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) has released
the following statement on the unprecedented silencing of ideas during the third special
“The destruction of property and violence during protests under the banner of any cause
is unacceptable and must end. But, while state troopers defended the Capitol building
from violence at our door, Democrats were attacking our legislative process from within.
In an unprecedented, surprise move, Democrat leadership refused to allow any motions
to adopt amendments to the eviction moratorium bill. To be clear, other legislation was
amended in committee, but this legislation stood alone—there would be no motions
made or accepted to amend. The votes were theirs—democrat leaders control it all. But
in this special session, it was not enough to control outcomes. They chose to silence
As Oregonians who were locked out of the building, protested and demanded their
rightful place in the halls of government, democrat leaders locked the minority party out
of the lawmaking process inside the building.
We came to the Capitol to pass meaningful and productive legislation for hardworking
and hurting Oregonians. Communities ravaged by wildfires, small businesses, schools,
renters and housing providers needed help and we responded with bipartisan support.
We continued funding for Oregon’s COVID response and provided critical COVID
liability protections for our schools—a key step to safely reopening to in-person learning.
But the people of Oregon cannot continue to pay the price, with a closed Capitol, closed
meetings and backroom deals. This must end.
The legislature must be responsive, transparent and accessible. We have more work to
do for Oregonians and they must be at the table. It is their right to fully participate. It is
their right to come to the Capitol to stand on their principles and through testimony or
protest, challenge the status quo and change the course of our state. The secrecy, the
backroom deals and the suppression of public participation and minority party input
must not and cannot continue in the 2021 Legislative Session.
I hope Speaker Kotek and President Courtney will renew their commitment to a
transparent and accessible Legislature as we work to support Oregonians next year. The
Legislature is the people’s branch, and it’s time it started operating that way.”
Governor Kate Brown acknowledges they aren’t working
"Not even our most strict policies of infection control and visitation protocols have been able to fully protect our elderly Oregonians." Thus declared Oregon Governor Kate Brown in a press conference Tuesday December 22nd, the day after Oregon's legislature met for the third special session, passing a massive $800 Million spending package.
Brown announced that not even our strictest policies of infection control have helped to stop the spread of COVID-19 within congregate care facilities. Brown went on to state "it feels really good that we can now start these vaccinations with the hope that these folks can reunite with their families once again, and feel safe from the virus soon". While feeling safe is surely important, feelings are far from facts. Governor Brown, and the Oregon Health Authority have yet to address the lack of testing of the COVID-19 vaccine upon the frail elderly population. Similarly there is no back up plan, or alternate care protocols put into place, should the vaccine not be as effective as hoped, within the frail elderly. Questions still remain regarding changes to policy, and restrictions being lifted, once the vaccine is administered. Leaving many to wonder what the timeline is for visitation of their loved ones, who are locked inside these care facilities.
On the other hand, according to Brown, the two week "freeze" has paid off, resulting in the stemming of cases previously projected to spike, as seen around other holidays. Brown also acknowledged that case counts are still up, and the death toll has still increased, yet claimed "this is proof that we determine, we determine, how the next few months will play out while we work to swiftly distribute the vaccines far and wide across the state." With this in mind, Brown urged Oregonians to rethink Christmas and of course, no New Year's Eve Party this year.
Brown applauded Congress for the $900 billion "stimulus package", claiming it will soon go to struggling Oregonian's who need it most, as well as $800 million passed by Oregon Legislature, which focused mainly on landlord/rental assistance. Brown claimed the new relief aid, essentially a $600 stimulus check, will be a "lifeline in the coming months". Brown also claimed funding will go to those who have made the most sacrifices, apparently homeowners do not fall into this category, as no financial help has been appropriated for homeowner relief.
Nearly 4,500 frontline healthcare workers have been given the vaccines. The next batch is slated for school teachers and staff according to the federal Centers for Disease Control Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices guidelines, in an effort to get kids back to school. Brown stated that nothing is more important than our children's "social and emotional learning." Unenrollment has taken a toll on the education budget, which is allocated per student attending public school. Earlier this year it was reported the Governor's office held concerns about a "mass exodus" from public school.
What is not being spoken of or addressed are those being left behind. The small business owner who followed every executive order and spent extra money for compliance and mitigation, and now their business will stay closed permanently. The homeowners who lost their job, or closed their business doors, and will now be foreclosed upon. The elderly dying alone, and their family members who never got to say goodbye. The fate of those who thrive, survive, or barely get by, rests solely in the hands of the party in power.
Allege preventing plaintiffs from receiving amounts due under their rental agreements
Almost at the exact same moment that the gavel swung down on the third special session, a lawsuit was filed against Kate Brown, the City of Portland and Multnomah County over the eviction moratoria laws enacted by all three jurisdictions which essentially require a single sector of the economy -- residential housing providers -- to fund an estimated $400 million and growing statewide welfare program. The complaint, which would ordinarily merely describe the plaintiff's standing, or right to sue, added descriptions of the plaintiffs, their work, as well as their losses.
One of the plaintiffs is Moe Farhoud, the owner of Stark Firs Property Management. Far from being the unfeeling, unkind landlord scapegoated by some in the legislature and the media, he had a dream to provide those who encountered challenges in life with a second chance at success. Mr. Farhoud therefore seeks to rent many units at his properties to tenants who have had prior criminal records, bankruptcies, credit problems, and who have otherwise encountered circumstances which would limit their ability to rent dwelling units. He is currently owed more than $1 million in back rent.
Plaintiffs Tyler and Crystal Sherman own 22 housing units throughout Oregon. Tyler Sherman was 20 years old and working as a maintenance man for a property management company when he decided that he wanted to build his own rental business. He purchased his first duplex as a home and an investment. He went on to buy multiple other properties before meeting Crystal a few years later. The Shermans often purchased properties that were vacant and in need of major repairs. They have worked evenings, weekends, holidays, and late nights on roofing, cleaning, painting, gutting, and remodeling poorly maintained properties into clean, safe, affordable homes.
Several of the Shermans’ tenants have refused to pay rent since March of 2020. On information and belief, none of these tenants have lost employment due to the COVID-19 crisis. To date, these tenants owe them in excess of $8,000 in back rent.
2020 HB 4213 passed in the first special session, 2020 HB 4401 passed in the third special session. The suit also references several ordinances passed by the City of Portland and Multnomah county having to do with eviction moratoria.
According to the suit, "the Eviction Moratoria have the effect of:
a. Preventing Plaintiffs from terminating any tenancy for non-payment of rent, late charges, utility charges, and certain other service charges or fees, otherwise owing under their rental agreements with tenants;
b. Preventing Plaintiffs from exercising their contractual rights to exclude individuals from their properties and take possession of Plaintiffs’ units pursuant to Plaintiffs’ rental agreements;
c. Preventing Plaintiffs from charging late fees, penalties, or any other amount reflecting the time value of rent that was not paid in a timely fashion;
d. Preventing Plaintiffs from pursuing judgments for past-due rent absent any effect on tenants’ possession;
e. Preventing Plaintiffs, once tenants do eventually begin to pay rent, from applying those rent payments to the unpaid rental balance;
f. Preventing Plaintiffs from collecting unpaid rent until six months after the end of the declared emergency, whenever that time may be;
g. Preventing Plaintiffs from availing themselves of debt collection services by preventing Plaintiffs from reporting past due accounts to collection agencies;
h. In many cases, preventing Plaintiffs from ever receiving amounts due under their rental agreements.
The complaint goes on to say, that "The Eviction Moratoria are unconstitutional in several respects. First, the Eviction Moratoria impair the obligations of Plaintiffs’ rental agreements by removing the most important methods of enforcement of which Plaintiffs may avail themselves under their rental agreements: penalties for late payments and termination of the tenancy." It continues, "plaintiffs will likely bear the cost of this state-run public benefit program entirely on their own" and because of this "the Eviction Moratoria violate the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable seizures."
Critics of the recent eviction moratorium legislation -- widely known to be the work of State Representative Julie Fahey (D-Eugene) -- have pointed out that as the moratoria continue, an exit strategy becomes increasingly more difficult to craft and more painful to execute. Continuing the moratoria can only have the effect of creating broken tenants, broken housing providers and/or broken markets in which housing is less available, of less quality, and more expensive -- in the long run worse for tenants.
The lead attorney on the lawsuit, John DiLorenzo is no stranger to suing the State of Oregon. He's no stranger to winning, either. He was the architect of the successful $1.3 billion lawsuit against the State of Oregon brought by Linn and 12 other counties in Oregon, as well as 151 local taxing districts alleging breach of contract for the state's failure to maximize timber revenue on land managed by the state on behalf of the counties and districts. The state is awaiting appeal while interest accrues at a sickening rate.
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Indeed, as if the state knew that litigation was inevitable, the bill just passed, contains a kernel of a legal defense against such a suit. The newly-passed, but not-yet-signed-into-law HB 4401 offers a pre-emptive strike against such a suit.
Sec. 1. The Legislative Assembly finds and declares that:
(1) The provisions of [the moratoria laws] might affect the terms and conditions of certain contracts entered into in this state.
(2) The effects of the provisions of [the moratoria laws] are not substantial because the provisions have a limited scope and duration and are necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare. For these reasons the provisions do not undermine a contractual bargain, interfere with a party’s reasonable expectations or prevent a party from safeguarding or reinstating the party’s rights.
(3) Even if a provision of [the moratoria laws] has the effect of undermining a contractual bargain, interfering with a party’s reasonable expectations or preventing a party from safeguarding or reinstating the party’s rights, the provision is appropriate and reasonable to carry out the significant and legitimate public purpose of responding to the declaration of a state of emergency issued by the Governor on March 8, 2020, for the COVID-19 pandemic or the state of emergency issued by the Governor on September 8, 2020, for the wildfires.
One cannot help but wonder how the state, which has used the "impediment of contracts" argument as a successful defense against every attempt at PERS reform can now sustain this line of reasoning and re-write rental contracts throughout the state.
After three special sessions some House Republicans had some reflections on how the session went. It says something about the session that the focus was not on what was done, but what was not done, and how the session proceedings impacted and were impacted by the Oregon Constitution.
House Republican Leader Christine Drazan, R-Canby said, “The destruction of property and violence during protests under the banner of any cause is unacceptable and must end. But, while state troopers defended the Capitol building from violence at our door, Democrats were attacking our legislative process from within. In an unprecedented, surprise move, Democrat leadership refused to allow any motions to adopt amendments to the eviction moratorium bill. To be clear, other legislation was amended in committee, but this legislation stood alone—there would be no motions made or accepted to amend. The votes were theirs—democrat leaders control it all. But in this special session, it was not enough to control outcomes. They chose to silence ideas.
As Oregonians who were locked out of the building, protested and demanded their rightful place in the halls of government, democrat leaders locked the minority party out of the lawmaking process inside the building.
We came to the Capitol to pass meaningful and productive legislation for hardworking and hurting Oregonians. Communities ravaged by wildfires, small businesses, schools, renters and housing providers needed help and we responded with bipartisan support. We continued funding for Oregon’s COVID response and provided critical COVID liability protections for our schools—a key step to safely reopening to in-person learning.
But the people of Oregon cannot continue to pay the price, with a closed Capitol, closed meetings and backroom deals. This must end.
The legislature must be responsive, transparent and accessible. We have more work to do for Oregonians and they must be at the table. It is their right to fully participate. It is their right to come to the Capitol to stand on their principles and through testimony or protest, challenge the status quo and change the course of our state. The secrecy, the backroom deals and the suppression of public participation and minority party input must not and cannot continue in the 2021 Legislative Session.
I hope Speaker Kotek and President Courtney will renew their commitment to a transparent and accessible Legislature as we work to support Oregonians next year. The Legislature is the people’s branch, and it’s time it started operating that way.”
Additionally, State Representative E. Werner Reschke, R-Malin said, “The 3rd Legislative Special Session of 2020 was another disappointment for those who wish to be free and live free. Even the fact there was a 3rd special session is a glaring example of the wrong direction this state is headed. Oregon’s state government continues to think the answer to failing businesses, and the inability to pay rent is to paper over the real problem with more government regulations and more spending. The solution to the disaster of 2020 lies in letting people be free to earn a living, giving people a real choice how to educate their children and allowing families to decide how best to navigate the virus outbreak from China themselves. Top down government rarely benefits the people, but instead consolidates more power to those in charge.”
Representative Bill Post, R-Keizer is featured in the video below, which he summarizes, “I was once again, very upset that the public and lobby were locked out of the building during the Third Special Session. This is beginning to look like a pattern and it’s a pattern that is not good for Oregon. None of the bills we passed will really make the kind of impact that just plain opening Oregon back up would do. Let Oregon businesses follow the guidelines that have been set, using their best practices and care for the public and let’s get this economy back under way.
The Legislative branch has been passed by the wayside by the Executive branch. That is not how good government works and I am embarrassed for the Legislature that we apparently don’t have the back bone to demand the Governor work with us as equal partners. My SB 1801 floor speech on Monday, sums up my feelings overall.”