Tobias Read: Special Session Moratorium

A special session isn’t enough, what we need is leadership. 


Thousands of Oregonians are in danger of eviction because the legislature and governor haven’t been able to ensure that their rent relief payments are processed quickly. The money is there. This is not a lack of resources, it’s about priorities. This rolling crisis has been going on for nearly a year—and yet the legislature and the governor are still unable to address this urgent demand. 


Whatever it takes, we should be doing it: If we need to re-assign staff from other agencies, we should. If we need to pay overtime for night and weekend work, we should. If we need to partner with the private sector to add the processing speed that’s needed to fix this problem, we should do that too. I don’t accept that this is the best we can do. Waiting another three to six months to process these urgent claims should be unacceptable to this administration, the legislature and all Oregonians.


12,000 families are constantly living in fear of eviction, unsure of what will happen to them and their children. And upstanding small property owners who need to pay their own bills have gone months without relief as they wait for the state to get this right.


The answer is not to keep extending eviction moratoriums indefinitely, leaving struggling tenants AND honest small property owners in limbo.  This only makes the impact of the pandemic and homelessness crisis worse.


We need leadership from Salem that views this problem as the crisis it is and takes action to fix it, and not just an administrative hassle to kick down the road with another special session marked by arguing politicians, all while people continue to suffer.