Law librarian details success of eviction prevention program

The Linn County Law Library’s Eviction Prevention Program has provided valuable information to about 75 people on the verge of eviction, Law Librarian Amber Boedigheimer told Linn County Commissioners Sherrie Sprenger and Will Tucker Tuesday morning, Sept. 13.

Commissioner Roger Nyquist was absent.

Boedigheimer said that from August 2021 to August 2022, more than 558 eviction cases occurred in Linn, Benton and Lincoln county circuit courts. Of these cases, 410 have been closed, while more than 150 remained open as of Aug. 24.

She said the Law Library received a $41,000 grant from the American Rescue Plan Act and she has spent about $26,000 so far. The grant has been extended until December, allowing time for further outreach.

Boedigheimer said the COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult to complete one-on-one sessions at the Law Library, but she has successfully moved sessions online.

Boedigheimer emphasized that the program does not provide money to families facing eviction, but can offer information about where to find assistance. The program also provides information to landlords, she said.

Commissioner Tucker thanked Boedigheimer for securing the grant and working through the “difficult challenges” of COVID-19.

In other business, the commissioners:

♦ Were informed by Planning & Building Director Steve Wills that 73 land-use and 332 building permits were issued in August. There were 20 dwelling permits – 16 single family units and four manufactured dwellings. There were 23 permits issued for dwelling additions and alterations. Fees waived in the Santiam Canyon fire area have totaled more than $113,000.

♦ Approved a resolution allowing the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to work on an erosion control project near River Bend Campground, Cascadia. Parks Director Brian Carroll said the area is used by Fish & Wildlife to plant steelhead and salmon in the South Santiam River. Work is scheduled for late September and early October.

♦ Approved First-Time Youth Wage agreements with Mercy House International, Bellinger Reel Seats, Pimm Farms, Sweet Home Dairy Queen, A & W Restaurant, Schmizza Public House, Sweet Home Figaro’s and Berkey’s Blueberries.

♦ Reappointed/appointed the following members to the Local Public Safety Coordinating Council: Maureen Robb, Torri Lynn, Todd Noble, Ariel Lewis and Justin Thomas.

♦ Welcomed several children who attend Lourdes Public Charter School near Scio and their parents.

The children discussed a proposed large-scale chicken farm’s potentially negative effects on the clean air and water quality near their school, homes and community center. The facility could produce several million chickens per year, reared in enclosed buildings.

Adults expressed concerns about pollutants creating asthma and other health issues for their children, since the school is only a half-mile away from the proposed operation. One man suggested the commissioners stop the facility at any cost, even if it means being sued in court.

The commissioners explained that although they are working to help the area families, the area is zoned for this type of operation and it will take the state Legislature to change laws before such operations could be stopped.

Commissioner Sprenger, a former state Legislator, encouraged the group to take their message to Salem when the Legislature convenes in February.

– Alex Paul, Linn County Communications Officer