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The governor issued a strengthened executive order Wednesday placing a moratorium on evictions for nonpayment.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Oregon Gov. Kate Brown gives an update at a press conference in March.Landlords won't be able to break off residential or commercial leases for the next three months under an executive order issued by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday afternoon, April 1.

Responding to many Oregonians' loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the temporary closure of many businesses, Brown issued previously issued what the governor's office described as a moratorium on residential evictions March 22. That order directed law enforcement officers not to evict residents for not paying their rent.

Wednesday's executive order is significantly stronger. It bars landlords from terminating a tenant's lease, filing a court order to remove them or otherwise interfering with their ability to stay in their leased space because they haven't paid rent on time. It also covers commercial leases.

The new order also prohibits landlords from charging late fees or otherwise penalizing tenants for not paying rent.

However, the order also directs tenants — residential and otherwise — to inform their landlord if they are unable to pay rent in full, and to make partial rent payments if they're "financially able" to do so.

Read the April 1, 2020, executive order on evictions in full.

"Without further action, many businesses across the state may face termination of leases or eviction, which could interrupt the provision of necessary goods and services during this emergency, and impact the livelihood of Oregonians," Brown stated in her executive order Wednesday, explaining her decision to shield commercial tenants from eviction.

Brown also noted that "further action is necessary to prevent termination of residential leases and the initiation of eviction proceedings during this emergency."

The executive order is scheduled to be in effect for 90 days, although Brown could choose to extend it or rescind it early. If it expires on schedule, evictions would be permitted again by July 1.

Brown's executive action comes days after the Hillsboro City Council voted to instate a moratorium on commercial evictions while the city is under a state of emergency.

During the coronavirus emergency, local governments have at times been out ahead of Brown; her March 22 order also came after Portland and Beaverton, among other cities, temporarily banned residential evictions within their city limits.

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