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City Club of Eugene: Losing Health and Home: Oregon's Pending COVID-19 Eviction Crisis

Program Date: Feb. 19, 2021

Air Date: Feb. 22, 2021

This City Club program is the third in a three-part series on local housing issues.

From The City Club of Eugene:

Eviction has been described as “the nuclear option” to address disputes between tenants and landlords, and the most common cause of eviction is the nonpayment of rent. Evictions initiate a cycle of housing instability for the renter—especially in markets like Eugene with little available housing—and they are time-consuming, stressful, and expensive for the landlord.

Even before 2020, many local residents were living one step away from eviction. Housing costs have risen significantly faster than wages for decades, and housing options are increasingly out of sync with demographic needs and financial means. In Lane County, 1 in 3 renters pays more than 50% of their income for housing, and Oregon’s minimum wage workers would need to work 81 hours every week to afford a two-bedroom apartment. Black, Native American, and Latinx households are more likely than white households to be extremely low-income renters and low-wage workers. Most of Oregon’s workforce was struggling to afford housing at the start of 2020. Enter the COVID-19 pandemic and the inability of many workers to go to work. This program introduces the unprecedented series of judicial, executive, and legislative actions that Oregon took in 2020 to mitigate the potential eviction disaster created by COVID-19. This includes HB 4401, a bill that provides assistance for renters and landlords and extends the moratorium on COVID-related evictions.


Julie Fahey is serving her third term as the Representative for HD14 (West Eugene/Junction City). She chairs the House Committee on Housing, which drafted HB 4401. Rep. Fahey is a member of the House committees on Conduct, Business and Labor, Rules, and Ways and Means. Rep. Fahey also serves as the Deputy Majority Whip of the House Democratic Leadership team.

Jason Miller Is the Legislative Director and past President of the Oregon Rental Housing Association. Mr. Miller is the General Manager of Diversified Property Management and Real Estate Services. He is a licensed Principal Broker and Realtor, and is an Apartment Supervisor certified by National Apartment Association. Diversified Property Management, based in Albany, Oregon, manages 20 multi-family communities across Oregon.

Alison McIntosh is the Policy and Communications Director at Neighborhood Partnerships (NP), a Portland-based 501 (c) (3) organization founded in 1989.  NP focuses on program delivery and policy change that helps vulnerable Oregonians to achieve housing stability and financial security. Ms. McIntosh’s role at NP is to convene the Oregon Housing Alliance, a coalition of more than ninety organizations that believe every Oregonian deserves a safe and stable place to call home.