Today, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners voted to extend the county's COVID-19 pandemic state of emergency to the end of the year—meaning no residential evictions for another three months.
Multnomah County renters cannot be evicted due to nonpayment until Jan. 8, 2021, and they will continue to have a six-month grace period to pay back any past-due rent following this new date, the county says.
This vote came a week before the original eviction moratorium was set to expire on Sept. 30. The statewide moratorium is still set to expire on that date, unless Gov. Kate Brown acts.
"We are in a pandemic. And I am very concerned about the potential for mass homelessness that will occur if we don't take these steps," County Commissioner Lori Stegmann writes. "It is important and prudent that we protect the majority of our constituents who rent to make sure they have a place to live during this pandemic."
County officials cited the dire need for housing during a public health crisis and the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on BIPOC communities.
The Portland City Council will vote on a similar moratorium extension next week, and city and county leaders are also working to distribute around $30 million in rental assistance by the end of the year. While this secures housing for thousands of renters for the moment, leaders say it's still not sufficient.
"At some point the rent will come due," County Chair Deborah Kafoury writes. "While we are avoiding mass evictions at this moment, we really need the federal government to pass" additional rental assistance and tenant protection measures "to help not only renters, but also landlords."