February 15, 2017
Portland’s tenant relocation payment ordinance survived a hearing in federal court Wednesday as a judge sent the case back to state courts. Landlords who had filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the ordinance sought an order Wednesday preventing the ordinance from taking effect while the case was argued. But Judge Michael Simon of the U.S. District Court of Oregon denied the petition for a stay, saying it was too late for the court to prevent the ordinance from taking effect. The rule was passed as an emergency ordinance and took effect immediately.
The case had moved to federal court at the request of city attorneys because the landlords made arguments based in the U.S. Constitution and federal law. But the landlords’ attorney, John DiLorenzo, dropped those arguments Wednesday after Simon said he was “very, very skeptical” of the claims. The main basis for his case, DiLorenzo said, is a statewide pre-emption on rent control, an issue Simon said was best left for the state court system to decide.