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Multnomah County renters whose incomes have been severely impacted by COVID-19 have been granted an additional three-month buffer from being evicted due to unpaid rent.

On Thursday, Multnomah County Commissioners voted to extend the county's state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by 90 days, bumping the original April 10 end date to July 9. The county's moratorium on residential evictions, initially announced March 17, was written to last for the duration of the county's emergency declaration. Thus, landlords will be prohibited from evicting tenants for non-payment to rent—that is, if the tenant can prove the coronavirus' financial impact has hurt their income—until the end of July.

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Once the moratorium is lifted by the county, renters who deferred payments due to COVID-19 will have six months to pay back their landlords.

The extension means the county's eviction moratorium last slightly longer than the statewide 90-day residential eviction moratorium passed by Gov. Kate Brown on March. Brown added commercial tenants to the eviction moratorium on April 1. Both Brown and Multnomah County Commissioners could chose to extend those moratoriums in the future.

Tenant rights groups, backed by Portland City Council, are still calling on the state to replace its moratorium with a rent forgiveness program, which would dismiss financially-strapped tenants from having to repay the rent they couldn't afford during the emergency. Landlord organizations, meanwhile, argue that this approach would surely lead to economic collapse.

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