Changes in the law since the publication of Oregon’s Legal Guide for College Students:

1. COVID rent moratorium extended

Special COVID-19 rule:
See earlier update on the COVID-19 rule about eviction for non-payment of rent; who is eligible for rental assistance; and how to get it. http://www.OregonLawHelp.org has details for Multnomah County and the rest of the state. The emergency period prohibiting eviction for non-payment of rent ended June 30, 2021. If you were unable to pay during the period April 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021, you must resume paying current rent to avoid eviction. You have until February 28, 2022 to pay all back rent still owed.

January 1—The legislature extended the COVID-19 rent moratorium mentioned on page 14. The moratorium will extend through June 30, 2021. To take advantage of the extension (which covers the October-December 2020 period, too), tenants must truthfully sign a sworn statement that they lack the ability to pay. If you are among them, check with your city or county to see if there is rental assistance to help you get through this period. Remember, you WILL owe all the unpaid rent (but not late fees or interest) July 1, so try to save as much money as you can for that purpose. If you live in Portland, the rules are slightly different—check with the city for details.

2. Decriminalization of illegal drug possession

February 1—On this date, Measure 110, the citizens’ initiative to decriminalize possession of small amounts of many illegal drugs takes effect. Those found to have “non-commercial” amounts of heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine will no longer be charged with a crime. Instead, they face a fine of $100 or they must complete a medical assessment by an alcohol and drug counselor at an addiction recovery program within 45 days. “Distributing” (giving or selling to others) is still a crime. Note that possession is still illegal under federal law. See pp. 16 and 96.

3. COVID student loan deferments

Students and former students with outstanding government loans got a reprieve from having to pay principal or interest until September 2021. If you are able to continue paying anything on your loans, make payments marked as “principal” during this time. (Include a letter directing the funds to be applied to principal and keep a copy!) With the principal becoming smaller, the interest payments you will have to make later on will also be smaller. There is talk that some or all of government loans for students might be forgiven, but that outcome is highly unlikely. Pay what you can during the freeze, and remember that hope is not a plan.  See Section B-8.

4. Dreamers and DACA

Thanks to a change in administrations, “Dreamers” can once again breathe a little more easily as efforts to have them deported are ended. See Section H-5, pp. 111-112.

Oregon’s Legal Guide for College Students Updates 23 August 2021


A. Where You Live and the Law

Another important change in the law affects how landlords can screen applicants to become tenants. Landlords cannot consider information on credit reports that shows non-payment of rent, charges, or fees for the period April 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. Nor can they consider claims for back rent through February 28, 2022. (The law already requires landlords to have written screening criteria.)

B. Your Rights and Duties as a Consumer


Section B-8. Student Loans
People have seen headlines about student loans’ having been forgiven. All of those loans were from fly-by-night “career colleges” that came into existence for the sole purpose of ripping off students and the government in the form of free money from student loans. The law already prohibited these schools from trying to collect, but it wasn’t until this year that the government once again stepped in to stop these fraudulent activities.

C. Your Rights in the Workplace


Section C-1. It’s unlawful for an employer to require an applicant to show a driver’s license for a job unless the ability to drive legally is an essential job function (if you’re a bus driver, for instance) or there’s some other legitimate business purpose.

Section C-3. Employers have abused “non-competition” agreements pretty badly. New Oregon law will require employers who want to force you to sign a non-competition agreement to give you written notice after giving you a job offer in writing and letting you know about the non-competition rule at least two weeks before your first workday. When you leave the job, the employer must send a copy of the agreement to you within 30 days after you stop working. If it doesn’t do all these things, it can’t enforce the agreement. Similar restrictions apply to promotions. There are other limitations on employers, too. See a lawyer if your job ends and you want to know about your right to work somewhere else.


Section C-9. New law creates a presumption of employer retaliation, if, after an employee complains to the employer or an enforcement agency about health and safety violations, the employer takes negative action against the employee within 60 days.


G. Crime and Criminal Records
New law will make it possible for low-income people to get appointed counsel to help them clear juvenile records.

H. Other Topics


H-4: LGBTQ Issues
Medical providers are now on the list of services that can’t discriminate by denying treatment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or disability.


H-7: Voting
The deadline for mailing ballots is now Election Day–so long as the clerk’s office receives them within seven calendar days.

NEW SECTION: H-10 Student Athletes Getting Paid for Sports

The National College Athletic Association has decided that student athletes can be paid for participating in sports and still qualify as amateurs. That means athletes who play high-profile sports can expect to hear from companies that want the students’ endorsements of their products and are willing to pay for them. This is a good news, bad news proposition.


First, the idea that you can make big bucks during your short athletic career can make you forget about your educational goals and career goals with more longevity. Second, most of the people who approach you to “make you famous” make their living negotiating deals in which they hold all the cards. They are NOT going to be looking out for your well-being or your interests.Second, who wants your name and photo for what purpose? Contracting with a local pizza parlor for a few hundred or thousands of dollars is pretty straightforward. But allowing your name or image to be used in sponsored social media or in videos on YouTube and Twitter will involve complexities you can’t even imagine. What are the terms of payment? What are you obligated to do in order to get paid? What happens if you don’t follow through on those duties? (Think in terms of lawsuits that land you in big, big debt.) What if your college wants a piece of the payment? What’s your tax liability for a big paycheck? Can your earnings be structured in a way that make financial sense? Will your ability to get scholarships or loans go away for a small payday?


Short answer: Don’t sign anything until a lawyer or an agent has read it and explained to you what you are on the hook for. Get advice from a certified public accountant (CPA). And find someone who can negotiate a better deal for you.