32 Former Residents Settle Claims Over Legionnaires’ Outbreak at Low-Income Building

Each of the seniors that took the landlord to court will receive $8,000.

Rosemont Court (Chris Nesseth)

Thirty-two former residents of a North Portland building who sued their nonprofit housing provider over a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak reached settlement agreements with the landlords last week.

The senior residents sued the nonprofit owner and manager of the Rosemont Court in February, alleging the nonprofits hadn’t adequately protected residents during a Legionnaires’ outbreak in 2021 that left one resident dead and more than a dozen others sick.

Former residents who were sickened with Legionnaires’ have not settled and are likely to move to trial.

Kevin Cathcart, the attorney representing the 32 seniors who were displaced but did not fall ill, says he gave Northwest Housing Alternatives and the management firm Income Property Management 30 days to reach a settlement with the plaintiffs before he demanded discovery. The defendants agreed to settle, and each of the 32 plaintiffs received $8,000.

The seniors that took the nonprofits to court represent about one-third of Rosemont Court’s population when it still operated. (The last resident moved out last December, nearly six months after the building owners told residents they had to leave. Facing long waitlists for affordable apartments, some of the Rosemont seniors couldn’t find placements until months later.)

Health officials with Multnomah County say they never did identify the source of the outbreak.

Former resident Jane Foreman is one of the plaintiffs who settled last week. Last month, she said she received a call from someone asking if she’d like to return to Rosemont Court when it reopens.

“I lost so much when I left Rosemont. I could list 50 things that I miss and don’t have here, number one being my community,” Foreman said last month. “But I don’t want to go back to Rosemont, because I wouldn’t trust going back to that building.”

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