COVID-19: Laws and legal help


The COVID-19 pandemic presents many unique legal challenges. Here are some ways to get the information and support you need during this difficult time. (Check out Law help: legal research assistance and legal aid for more resources.)

Note: It is against state law for library staff members to engage in any conduct that might constitute the unauthorized practice of law; we may not interpret statutes, cases or regulations, perform legal research, recommend or assist in the preparation of forms, or advise patrons regarding their legal rights.
 
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Renters

Oregon’s statewide eviction moratorium expired on June 30, 2021 and is no longer active. But help is available -- even if you receive an eviction notice. Two new laws, Senate Bill 282 and Senate Bill 278, provide important protections to help tenants. Renters are protected from nonpayment evictions if they apply for rent assistance and provide documentation of their application to their landlords. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s temporary protection from eviction may also offer protection to renters. You have the right to all of these protections regardless of your citizenship status.
 
Apply for rental assistance online from the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program (Allita) if you need help paying your rent (or back rent that you’ve accrued between April 2020 and June 2021). If you need assistance with your application, you can call 211info at 2.1.1 or 866.698.6155, or the administrators of Multnomah County Emergency Rental Assistance at 503.988.0466.
 
If you or your household receive an eviction notice for nonpayment of rent, contact 211info immediately to learn about rapid-payment rent assistance that may help you avoid eviction. Call 2.1.1 or 866.698.6155, text your zip code to 898211, or email help@211info.org. You might also be able to get free legal help from the following:
 
If you are unsure of your legal rights, you can also contact the Community Alliance of Tenants Renters Rights Hotline at 503.288.0130. They are available Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays 1-5 pm, and Tuesdays 6-8 pm.
 
The most up-to-date information for renters can be found on 211info’s Multnomah County Rent Relief page.
 

Homeowners and landlords

 
Applications for the last round of the Landlord Compensation Fund were due June 23. Landlords are encouraged to work with tenants to keep them in place so they can apply for help with back rent. Here is more information for landlords and property managers about the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
 

Workers and business owners

Statewide mask requirements are in place again due to the Delta variant, though some older regulations on distancing have been relaxed. Oregon OSHA continues to handle complaints on those requirements that remain (such as for public transportation and correctional facilities). If you need to report hazards at a worksite, or believe you have been discriminated against on the basis of safety and health issues, you can file a complaint online or call 503.229.5910.
 
The Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries has information on the rights and responsibilities of workers and employers regarding sick leave, quarantine, vaccinations and more. For more information, call 971-673-0761, email help@boli.state.or.us, or file a complaint online.
 
If you lost income during the pandemic, you may qualify for unemployment benefits. Contact the Oregon Employment Department for assistance by calling 833-410-1004 or filling out their contact form online.  
 
If you are an agricultural worker recovering from COVID-19, seeking healthcare, and/or practicing quarantine and isolation, the Quarantine Fund can help. Call 1-888-274-7292 to apply.
 
If you are a restaurant worker whose life has been affected by the pandemic, check out this list of resources for restaurant workers compiled by the Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation.
 
If you own a business  that has struggled during the pandemic, Lewis & Clark Law School's Small Business Legal Clinic has a list of pandemic-related legal resources for small businesses. Greater Portland also has a list of resources for everything from finding grants for small business loans to  using space in the public right-of-way.
 

Immigrants and Refugees

The Oregon Attorney General has compiled a list of COVID-19 resources for immigrants and refugees. Protecting Immigrant Families has an overview of some of the federal public programs available to support immigrants and their families during the COVID-19 crisis. Call the Oregon Public Benefits Hotline at 800.520.5292 for legal advice and representation in regard to problems with government benefits.

If you have lost your job but are ineligible for Unemployment Insurance and federal stimulus relief due to your immigration status, the Oregon Worker Relief Fund may be able to help. Call 888.274.7292 to apply for a one-time temporary disaster relief.
 
Here is a list of low cost legal resources for immigrants in the Portland Metro area.
 

Consumers

Beware of scams related to COVID-19! Both the Oregon Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have lists of common scams and frauds and how to avoid them. If you have a complaint about an Oregon-based business or charity, file a complaint online or call the Oregon Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at 1.877.877.9392. If you want to report fraud or scam from a business or charity based outside of Oregon (or if you aren’t sure of the location), notify the Federal Trade Commission.
 
This guide originally researched and authored by Joanna Milner. Links checked and updated by Lara P. on 9/29/2021

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