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City of Gresham announces strong emergency residential and commercial tenant protections

March 19, 2020

The Gresham City Council took strong action in an emergency Council meeting March 19 to protect Gresham’s residential renters and commercial tenants during the City’s declared State of Emergency caused by the spread of COVID-19.

The action bars residential landlords from evicting renters during the state of emergency for any reason connected to the emergency, or for no reason at all via so-called “no-cause” evictions. The provisions apply for the duration of the declared State of Emergency. Landlords violating the order risk losing their City of Gresham rental license, which allows them to conduct business in Gresham.

"This is a substantial measure, but we must protect the stability of our families, and their housing, as a first order of business,” said Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis. “Many of our residents are facing drastic economic challenges at the same time that we’re asking them to take unprecedented actions. Stabilizing their housing safety, in the short term, is a critical first measure in controlling the spread of the virus. We are all in this together, and we cannot have families displaced during an unprecedented global health pandemic."

On the commercial front, the City Council’s action bars commercial property owners from terminating commercial leases for any purpose connected to the declared State of Emergency. Those who violate the moratorium will be denied a license to conduct business at their location for one year following the conclusion of the State of Emergency.

"Small businesses, collectively, are America’s largest employer,” Bemis said. “We have spent decades building vibrant, thriving business districts in Gresham with local entrepreneurs who operate on paper-thin margins, but who contribute strongly to our local economy and our sense of community. We will get through this, and emerge on the other side, but we have to take measures now to ensure our local employers get there with us.”

The City continues to explore other options and remedies as well to support the housing stability of residents and the viability of local businesses. In addition to taking local action and exploring other local options, the City is urging state and federal actions.

“We will continue to push the state and federal governments to take swift actions to ensure the public’s health and safety, provide enhanced renter protections, mortgage relief, and small business assistance,” Bemis said.

The City’s Emergency Operations Center remains activated, while City Hall is closed to the public; City leadership continues to conduct core businesses and ensure that essential services are operational for the safety of the public.

Regular updates to the community will be available on GreshamOregon.gov/COVID19 as well as the City’s social media channels.