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In this newsletter:
Statewide Martin Luther King, Jr. Activities
Section 8 Update and FAQs
Fair Housing Stakeholder Survey: Coming Soon
2015 Poster Contest 
What Landlords Don't Know About Lead
Anne Frank Exhibit at OJM
Disparate Impact Rule Under Threat

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere"
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Take advantage of the many opportunities to honor, volunteer, and learn throughout Oregon on this 30th anniversary celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. The official day of celebration is Monday, January 19th, but there are events happening this weekend and next week.

Ashland: Martin Luther King, Jr. tributes begin at noon on January 19th 

Bend: Volunteer Connect invites Central Oregonians to participate in the 6th Annual MLK Day of Service in honor of Dr. King’s legacy. All ages are welcome to volunteer with various projects on this day of celebration from 9 am to noon. For information please call; 541 385-8977. Sign up online here 

Eugene: NAACP of Lane County is organizing a march that will happen in the morning. Gather at U of P from 9 am – 10 am at which time the march begins. From this march there will be free transportation provided to the Springfield march and festivities. More information

Actress and activist Holly Robinson-Peete will be the keynote speaker at Lane Community College’s event. The event begins at 6:30 pm in the Center for Meeting and Learning, Building 19, LCC main campus, 4000 E. 30th Ave.

Medford: Southern Oregonians start the celebration early at 2 pm on Sunday at North Medford High School Auditorium with music, food and more.

“The time is always right to do what is right.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Portland: Myrlie Evers-Williams will be speaking and the CBI choir will have a special Gospel performance with members of the NW Community Gospel Choir. Congregation Beth Israel, 6 pm, this Friday, the 16th.

The Skanner Foundation still has tickets available for their breakfast on the 19th.

Come see us at our table at the World Arts Foundation tribute with the theme "Keep Alive The Dream"

Salem: Willamette University has a week of events organized spanning a wide area of interest, including: a ticketed event to hear Barbara Roberts speak, a 5K run, art exhibits and more. FHCO will be providing information at the Barbara Roberts event.

Springfield: : "Dare to Take a Stand" is the 2015 theme. Meet at the Springfield Justice Center at 1:30 pm, and march to Springfield High School for a free celebration until 4 pm. More information


Section 8 Check-In:  Six Months Into a New Era in Housing Opportunities in Oregon

It has been over 6 months since a new Oregon law went into effect protecting housing consumers from discrimination based on their Section 8 voucher (House Bill 2639 and statute at ORS 659A.421). In practical terms, it means that a landlord cannot refuse to rent to an applicant, or treat an applicant or tenant differently, because the applicant is using a Section 8 voucher or other rental housing assistance. Nor can landlords advertise “no Section 8” or “No HUD".   

In the words of Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland), the expanded protection “‘creates that door of opportunity’ for voucher-holders to apply for housing close to work, kids' schools and in thriving neighborhoods”.  (Oregonian, July 8th, 2013)

Our office has kept very busy over the past six months providing technical assistance to housing providers regarding the law’s implementation as well as advocating for consumers who have encountered resistance to their use of Section 8 vouchers.  
As a snapshot, we have:

  •  Sent informational letters to landlords that have posted “No Section 8” ads on Craigslist

  • Advocated for tenants having issues leasing up with a  new landlord, or current landlords that do not want to accept the voucher when a current tenant receives one

  • Tested properties brought to our attention by complainants

Over these past months, one question that’s been raised by both landlords and tenants is how to calculate whether or not a prospective renter qualifies for the rental based on their income.  The position that our office is taking is that the landlord should only consider the amount that the tenant actually pays, not the full advertised rent.  For example, consider if a stated rent amount is 1200 and the landlord requires a renter to have 3 times the rent in income.  A non-Section 8 tenant could be required to show income of 3600 dollars per month, but if a Section 8 tenant would pay 300 dollars in rent and the Housing Authority would pay 900, then the tenant should only be required to show income of 900 dollars per month.  You can find a more detailed discussion of this issue in Question 7 of the Frequently Asked Questions linked below, a wonderful resource for both housing providers and consumers that was compiled by attorney and FHCO board member John Vanlandingham of the Lane County Law and Advocacy Center.  The document is comprehensive and evolving, and created in partnership with landlord trade groups and other legal aid offices and colleagues around the state.  Download the PDF to read the most recent FAQ 

Stay tuned to our website and Facebook page for any updates to this document.

Please contact our office if you have questions about the Section 8 non-discrimination law or other questions about housing discrimination.  Housing consumers can call 503-223-8197, Ext. 2, landlords and other housing providers can call 503-223-8197 Ext. 150, and everyone is welcome to email

Oregon Fair Housing Stakeholder Survey Notice

We need your help! 

As a recipient of federal funds, the State of Oregon is required by HUD to sign a certification to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH). An Analysis of Impediments (AI) is the basis for the State’s fair housing planning activities, development of strategies to reduce impediments and progress reporting. In addition to its own obligations to affirmatively further fair housing, communities that receive State disbursements of federal funds are also responsible to further fair housing as described in the State’s AI. 

Next week, FHCO will send you a link to participate in an online survey to share your experience with fair housing, affordable housing and community development in Oregon’s small communities and rural towns. We encourage you to participate and to share the link to the survey with your colleagues. 

This survey is meant for people who work in the fields of housing and community development, lending, social services, fair housing and advocacy. Because this study focused on the state’s smaller cities and rural areas, we are especially interested in hearing from people who work in these communities.  We also welcome input on statewide issues that affect protected classes throughout the state, without regard to where they live. Please invite others in your field to participate in the survey; we want to receive participation from a diverse group of stakeholders. All responses are confidential, and they will only be reported in combination with those of other participants. 

If you need a reasonable accommodation, such as translation of the survey into a language other than English or to be able to take the survey by phone, please contact Christy Pushchak at or 800-748-3222 ext. 261.
Together We Make a Neighborhood is the Fair Housing Poster Contest 2015 theme! Look at previous winners and download the brochure here! Email with your questions or if you need help with supplies!
What Landlords Don't Know about Lead
By Jo Becker, Education/Outreach Specialist, Fair Housing Council 

Lead poisoning is of greatest concern with respect to children. However, we also found:
  • that 25% of landlords still don’t know that HUD and EPA have required lead disclosure in all units built prior to 1978 (including use of a specific brochure on the subject) prior to contract since 1996. See boxed insert about 2012 case in Oregon that illustrates this.
  • that 41% are still not aware that HUD / EPA have also required disclosure (with use of a different brochure) prior to many repairs or renovations made to pre-78 properties since 2008.
  • that 50% didn't know HUD / EPA has required that many repairs or renovations be done by a certified lead-safe contractor since 2010.
  • that 37% still don’t know it has been illegal under the federal Fair Housing Act  to deny housing to an applicant simply because there are children in the household (even in pre-1978 properties) since 1988. 
As recent cases demonstrate, the penalties for non-compliance can be significant.  Continue reading...  

Oregon Jewish Museum Presents Anne Frank: A History for Today

Disparate Impact: Safeguarding Civil Rights
Fighting Housing Discrimination through a Continuing Disparate Impact Standard

By the National Fair Housing Alliance
For more than 45 years, courts have recognized two categories of discrimination prohibited under the Fair Housing Act: disparate treatment and disparate impact.Disparate treatment refers to overt discrimination where intent is plain and obvious. Disparate impact refers to policies that have a discriminatory effect where intent is not immediately evident.

On October 2nd, 2014, the U.S.Supreme Court agreed to take up the question of whether the latter of the two, disparate impact, will remain a safeguard against covert discrimination in housing. Federal appellate courts have consistently ruled in favor of applying the disparate impact standard in housing discrimination cases, but despite this consensus, there are concerns that SCOTUS will strike down the standard. This pending challenge to disparate impact, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., represents a battleground for protecting the Fair Housing Act, a hard-won legacy ofMartin Luther King, Jr and other civil rights pioneers.

On January 21, two days after we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, the Supreme Court will hear the Texas case, which could dismantle the Fair Housing Act and re-open the door to housing practices that exclude persons based on race, gender, disability or familial status.  Please contact your legislators and spread the word about this threat. The NFHA amicus brief can be found here

Copyright © 2015 Fair Housing Council of Oregon, All rights reserved.