Many people who are suddenly out of work or are having their hours cut are concerned about not being able to pay the rent and being evicted from their homes. For those people, there is some good news.
First, some important background information. In an eviction proceeding, known as an “FED” case, the first time the landlord and tenant show up to court is called a “First Appearance.” Due to the pandemic, there are no FED First Appearances scheduled in Lincoln County until June 2.
Second, no one can be evicted from their home unless there has first been a court order. If FED trials are not taking place until June, there will be no court ordered evictions before then (except possibly in some very unusual circumstances).
Third, no eviction can take place unless a court order has been given to a Sheriff who is charged with enforcing the order. On March 22, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order placing a Moratorium on most evictions, for 90 days from the date of her Order, by prohibiting law enforcement officers from enforcing “no cause” evictions or evictions due to non-payment of rent. The Governor’s Order does not prohibit the Sheriff from enforcing other types of evictions, such as those based on a tenant’s actions which place others in danger.
This situation will continue to change. In addition to the actions taken by the Lincoln County Circuit Court and Governor Brown, the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, Martha Walters, has ordered that all eviction cases in Oregon trial courts be postponed. Her first Order, which is expected to be extended through the end of April, postponed all eviction cases (with limited exceptions) through March 27. Finally, it is expected that the Legislature will soon be called into a special session to address the looming eviction crisis.
In these challenging times, please know that Legal Aid remains open to the public for telephone and email consultations. People can reach us directly at 541.265.5305 from 10am-2pm Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. At other times on those days and on other weekdays we will respond to calls, voice messages and emails as soon as we can.
Blair Bobier, Attorney at Law
Regional Director, Legal Aid Services of Oregon
Lincoln County Office/Newport