Grant Award from Oregon Consumer Justice to The Commons Law Center to Provide Legal Services to Tenants Facing Eviction

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July 7, 2021

Portland, Oregon                                                                                       

The Commons Law Center is thrilled to announce the receipt of $300,000 in funding from Oregon Consumer Justice to provide free legal services to tenants facing eviction in Oregon, where more than 90% of tenants went unrepresented pre-COVID, and are now navigating a legal process made more complex by quickly changing laws and regulations. 

Oregon Consumer Justice’s Justin Baxter, a Founding Board Member and Board Secretary remarked, “OCJ is excited to support The Commons Law Center as this program furthers tenants’ rights by making legal services more equitable and accessible in this time of extreme need while also offering a valuable opportunity to train and empower a new generation of consumer protection attorneys. We are also excited to support a model that OCJ could adopt as we consider launching other consumer law programs in the future.”

Funds will hire a program director, two new lawyer fellows, and additional intake staff to expand available legal services in coordination with other legal, social service, and advocacy organizations, including the 40+ in Multnomah County distributing rent assistance funds. The Commons will leverage its new lawyer training program to prepare more lawyers capable of effectively representing tenants, before and after an eviction case is filed.

Experienced local attorney, Craig Colby, joined the team as senior advisor to provide in-house technical expertise and training resources. Mr. Colby has litigated approximately 3,000 cases on behalf of tenants over his 30 year career and maintained the 400 pages of Annotation to the Oregon Residential Landlord and Tenant Act for two decades, which he gave to nonprofit lawyers to support their work. 

The Commons’ mission is to revolutionize access to basic civil legal services, information, and support for underserved Oregonians. The organization provides sliding-scale legal services to low-income people, practical training for new lawyers and students, and community education.

Contact: Amanda Caffall, Executive Director & Staff Attorney, 503-850-0811

About the author 

Amanda Caffall

Raised in a small timber town nearby, she grew to love nature and commuting by bicycle in the city. Amanda leads program and partnership development and is a part-time attorney. Hobbies include urbanism, nephews, growing plants, and seeing friends.

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