Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek Calls for Special Session to Protect Tenants

Thousands of renters have yet to receive assistance and could now face eviction.

House Speaker Tina Kotek on Oct. 15 called for a special session of the Oregon Legislature to stave off a rash of evictions as pandemic restrictions expire.

“Nothing is more important than keeping people housed,” Kotek wrote on Twitter. “The pandemic and the coming winter demand action now.”

WW reported two weeks ago that 11,900 renters statewide who’ve applied for pandemic assistance were on the cusp of losing legal protection from eviction because it had taken too long for the state to get relief money to their landlords.

When The Oregonian reported Friday that the protections for those renters had expired, Kotek responded to the story with the tweet. “We need a special session for legislators to fix this problem,” she wrote.

It’s not clear whether Kotek would have the votes to pass such a bill, nor is it clear that Gov. Kate Brown will call for a special session. Brown has previously told WW she will rely on landlord self-interest to wait for state assistance rather than kick tenants out and get nothing. If tenants are evicted before assistance arrives, the application does not proceed, Brown’s office said last month.