Wheeler announces plan to help renters, wants more help

Multnomah County

Mayor introduced new relief measures to stabilize vulnerable households

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story misattributed the executive order on the eviction moratorium to Mayor Ted Wheeler. It was actually Gov. Kate Brown that issued an executive order that covers homeowner and business foreclosures.

PORTLAND, Ore (KOIN) — Mayor Ted Wheeler announced a potential Executive Order to extend the local eviction moratorium to the end of the year if there is not an extension of Oregon’s eviction moratorium.

Wheeler made that announcement during a late morning press conference.

He applauded the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield and Governor Kate Brown’s actions extending the federal eviction and state foreclosure protections through the end of the calendar year.

What Gov. Brown did is separate from a moratorium on residential and commercial evictions under a separate bill that also is due to end Sept. 30. Unlike the foreclosure moratorium, the Legislature did not provide for the governor to extend an evictions ban, although no one can be evicted for nonpayment of rent until after Dec. 31.

Portlanders are currently about $120 million behind on rent. The data from the Portland Housing Bureau showed 12-15% of Portland renters were unable to make rent in May. The highest rates of nonpayment were in outer Portland. There was about 15% nonpayment in June and 14% nonpayment in July.

At the press conference to introduce new relief measures to stabilize vulnerable households, Wheeler called for unified, coordinated actions and help from the federal government.

“The impact of the COVID-19 has exacerbated the issue of housing affordability,” Wheeler said before releasing troubling data from the Portland Housing Bureau.

“This is not a simple problem. The housing market is complicated,” he said.

Wheeler said that despite some financial help the city is able to provide, more is needed.

“We need our federal and our state partners to step in and work with us,” he said.

Immediately, Wheeler said he is allocating $500,000 for the PHB to help renters in East Portland, and extended the eviction moratorium.

$15.2 million was recently allocated to develop 165 homes in funding from the Oregon Housing and Community Services’ Local Innovation and Fast Track Housing Program.

Other money from the program was awarded to projects in Corvallis, Lebanon and Florence.

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