Amy Robinson Speaks at AGC of Washington Webinar

Miller Nash Graham & Dunn partner Amy Robinson was the guest presenter at AGC of Washington’s Monthly Safety Forum on Thursday, February 4, 2021. Amy spoke on a number of topics surrounding legal issues related to COVID-19, including potential workplace issues related to vaccines. The presentation has been recorded and is available to AGC of Washington members for on-demand viewing. In addition, the team at Miller Nash are happy to work with you on any employment and/or COVID-19 legal issues—contact us today!

Oregon’s Home Solicitation Sales Act: The Perils for Residential Contractors

The Oregon Home Solicitation Sales Act (OHSSA), ORS §§ 83.710-83.750, provides customers with a three-day right to cancel while imposing stringent disclosure requirements on sellers in connection with home solicitation sales, including certain in-person sales commonly made by residential contractors. If these disclosure requirements are not strictly adhered to, the customer may be indefinitely entitled to avoid the transaction in its entirety, leaving the contractor in the unenviable position of providing goods or services without any compensation in return. Given these drastic consequences, Oregon contractors should be aware of the OHSSA’s requirements and ensure their sales documents comply with its provisions. Continue Reading

Oregon’s Third Special Session of 2020 Recap: Landlord Assistance and Residential Eviction Moratorium, School Liability Limitations, and Cocktails To-Go

The Oregon Legislature closed out 2020 with its third special session of the year, passing four bills aimed to provide relief to Oregonians affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfires. The contents of those bills are summarized below.

HB 4401: Residential Eviction Moratorium and Landlord Assistance

  • Directs Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) to provide grants to landlords for 80 percent of unpaid rent between April 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, provided that landlords complete an application detailing all unpaid rent from qualified tenants and an agreement to forgive 20 percent of the outstanding unpaid rent.
  • Directs OHCS to distribute rent assistance to recipients of CARES Act Grants, who will make payments directly to landlords upon tenant’s applications.
  • Prohibits eviction without cause until June 30, 2021. Requires landlord to provide tenant with notice of their right to submit a declaration of financial hardship, which must be made under penalty of perjury. Requires court to dismiss eviction action before end of grace period based solely on nonpayment of rent if tenant declares financial hardship or landlord fails to provide tenant with notice of rights.
  • For tenants declaring financial hardship:
    • Extends emergency period, end of grace period, and prohibits eviction for nonpayment until June 30, 2021.
    • Requires payment of past due rent by July 1, 2021.
    • Prohibits landlords from charging late fees for nonpayment of rent between April 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.
  • For tenants not declaring financial hardship:
    • Extends emergency period to December 31, 2020 and extends grace period to March 31, 2021.
    • Prohibits eviction for nonpayment until March 31, 2021.
    • Requires payment of past due rent by March 31, 2021.
    • Prohibits landlord from charging late fees for nonpayment of rent between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.

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Will a New Restriction on the Size of Homes Qualify for Measure 49 Relief? The Oregon Court of Appeals Says No.

On December 30, 2020, the Oregon Court of Appeals released its first decision interpreting statutory provisions governing prospective Measure 49 claims. The question in Moore v. City of Eugene, 308 Or App 318  (2020) is whether a residential dwelling size restriction adopted and applied after petitioner purchased her property entitled her to Measure 49 protection. The court held that it did not, because the size restriction did not restrict the residential use of the property. Continue Reading

ASA Webinar: How the 2020 Election Could Affect the Construction Industry

The American Subcontractors Association of Washington will be presenting a free webinar, titled “How the 2020 Election Could Affect the Construction Industry,” on Thursday, December 10, 2020. The webinar is being hosted by Miller Nash Graham & Dunn, and it will include discussion of the following topics:

  • COVID-19 stimulus funding package
  • Pending infrastructure funding
  • ASA 2020 legislative priorities, including change order reform, prohibition of reverse auctions in construction services, and unfair competition

Click here to register for the webinar.

Oregon & Washington Construction Impacted by Governors’ New Orders

2020 has been the year of continuous changes in the construction industry brought about by the COVID-19 virus and its regulatory impact. Our construction team continues to monitor and provide timely counsel on meeting those challenges, whether on the project site or back in the company office. This update addresses the most recent orders impacting construction in both Oregon and Washington and what may come next. Continue Reading

Oregon OSHA Adopts Significant COVID-19 Workplace Safety and Health Rules

Oregon has become the third state in the nation to enact a workplace safety and health standard specifically addressing the coronavirus. Many provisions of the new Oregon OSHA rule take effect November 16, 2020. While some of the more onerous provisions, such as those requiring employers to conduct a risk assessment and implement an infection control plan, will be phased in through December. Employers could be fined up to $12,675 for violations of the Rule and up to $126,749 for repeat or willful violations. The general requirements imposed on all workplaces are summarized below.

Click here to read the full article.

New Contractor Requirements for Oregon Public University Construction Projects

During the one-day second special session, the Oregon Legislature passed two budget bills—SB 5721 and SB 5722—relating to public construction. While SB 5721 increases bond authorizations for the 2019-2021 biennium and revises previously approved bond authorizations, SB 5722 establishes expenditure limitations for capital construction projects in excess of $1 million. Among other things, SB 5721 authorizes bond authority to fund four new capital construction projects at public universities:

  • Oregon Institute of Technology Boivin Hall Rehabilitation
  • Oregon State University Arts and Education Complex
  • Portland State University SB1 Renovation and Expansion
  • University of Oregon Huestis Hall Renovation

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After Four Years of Controversy, Portland Adopts the Residential Infill Project

After four years of deliberation and analysis, the Portland City Council adopted the Residential Infill Project (RIP) on August 12, 2020. According to the City, RIP legislation is intended to increase housing opportunities by opening up the types of dwelling units that can be constructed in residential zones that have historically not allowed them, namely those zones that allow primarily single-family residential units. Under RIP, triplexes, fourplexes, sixplexes and cottage clusters will now be allowed in many single-family residential zones they were not allowed in before. Maximum dwelling size has been reduced from approximately 6500 square feet for a single-family unit to 2500 square feet, based on the floor area ratio allowed for a typical 5,000 square foot lot in the R-5 zone. Off-street parking to accommodate the additional density has been made optional.

The legislation has been controversial, which is primarily why it has been under review since 2016. Critics state that it unnecessarily disrupts established neighborhoods, will lead to too much density, and exacerbates a lack of parking. RIP was adopted with only Commissioner Amanda Fritz voting “no,” because, in part, the increased density is not being funnelled to areas with supportive transit.

New DOJ Clean Water Act Civil Enforcement Discretion Memo

The U.S. Department of Justice recently issued a new policy on limiting federal civil enforcement penalty actions under the Clean Water Act when a state is already enforcing. The Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division concluded at pages 6-7:

“Accordingly, I have come to the conclusion that – – as a matter of enforcement discretion – – civil enforcement actions seeking penalties under the CWA will henceforward be strongly disfavored if a state has already initiated or concluded its own civil or administrative proceeding for penalties under an analogous state law arising from the same operative facts.”

Our environmental group has not seen much overfiling by the current Administration on state enforcement actions, although we have had a Clean Air Act case in which EPA inspected a west coast facility for Clean Air Act (Title V) violations and has indicated that it may pursue enforcement, where the state was the delegated agency although was not currently enforcing. So it remains to be seen whether this policy will change much in terms of current DOJ/EPA practice. The policy does seem to fall in line with the Administration’s effort to limit environmental enforcement.