State of Oregon

Legislature, Supreme Court face key foreclosure decisions in new year

Oregon’s new foreclosure mediation program was supposed to give homeowners one last chance at keeping their homes.

Instead, when it took effect in mid-July, it brought out-of-court foreclosures to a screeching halt. Faced with new requirements and costs, lenders simply stopped filing new foreclosures. The logjam was compounded a week later by an appellate court ruling that lenders’ recording practices didn’t meet state law.

Five months later, more foreclosures are making their way to courtrooms, an alternative usually slower and costlier for all involved than a traditional foreclosure outside the court system.

Circuit courts, in fact, are girding for a big wave of new foreclosures — one which didn’t materialize in full force after last summer’s new regulations, but which can’t be avoided forever.

It’s clear, in short, that the foreclosure machine is broken, which threatens to prolong the foreclosure crisis and hurt a burgeoning real estate market recovery.

And to see what’s coming, all eyes are on the Legislature and the State Supreme Court. Both will face key decisions on foreclosure issues early next year.

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