PORTLAND, Ore. (Portland Tribune) — The Multnomah County Commission will consider extending the eviction moratorium for renters who have applied for assistance an additional 30 days on Thursday, July 8.

The statewide eviction moratorium imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic ended on June 30. But before it adjourned, the 2007 Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 278 and extended the moratorium for renters who apply for assistance for 60 days.

The commission will consider adding another 30 days because of problems processing rental assistance application in the county. According to the ordinance to be considered Thursday, the county normally processes $10 million in applications a year. But the county and its partners are now responsible for distributing $100 million in assistance, “requiring a significant reorganization and expansion of its systems,” the ordinance says.

Tenant advocates have been calling for the eviction moratorium to be extended to prevent large numbers of people from losing their homes. Landlord representatives have said property owners are increasingly at risk of losing their rental homes because of the lack of payments.

Counting $200 million that the Legislature approved Dec. 21 for tenants and landlords, and $300 million more in federal funds that Congress approved in December and March, Oregon has amassed more than $500 million available for rental assistance. But much of that money has not yet reached landlords. 

The ordinance also says that the need in Multnomah County is far greater than any other county or even the rest of the state. Of the estimated 15,148 households who have currently applied for state-funded rent assistance, approximately 10,202 reside in Multnomah County. 

“The scale of projected need as compared to other Oregon counties requires additional time for service providers to process applications, and to meet the legislative intent of Senate Bill 278,” the ordinance says.

The ordinance does not relieve renters of the obligation to pay their back rents. The 2021 Oregon Legislature set a deadline of February 2022 for renters to become current.