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1,000s in C.O. sign petition to freeze rent, mortgage payments

Many residents face uphill climb as jobless rates continue to grow

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The nation's unemployment number is the highest it's been in 2 1/2 years. There's no exact number yet on how many people in Central Oregon have filed for unemployment, but it's certainly on the rise. Some folks living in Central Oregon are now finding it challenging to pay for rent. There's even been a petition started in Bend to freeze rent and mortgage payments.

Sue Carrington, who works at Bend Dutch Property Management, specializes in furnished and unfurnished homes. Her company has started waiving late fees and is currently not charging any sign up fees for homeowners that would like to turn their homes to vacation rentals.

Carrington said she has not heard any of her clients or tenants ask for a lowered rent fee yet but is  willing to work with them to find common ground if it does come to that.

"We are getting in front of it,” Carrington said. “I don't want anybody to feel like they are being treated unfairly. I know a lot of folks think rent has been escalated, so we are trying our best to keep things at a good value."

This week, President Donald Trump announced the Department of Housing and Urban Development would suspend some foreclosures and evictions through April. But that is only for one month, and only applies to homeowners with mortgages insured by the federal programs Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

For Robin Knorr, though, that’s not an option. Knorr is working a zero hour a week schedule. So she’s not technically laid off, but she doesn’t have any income. She recently filed for unemployment after having her rent increased.

"I just feel like this is another burden for a lot of us,” Knorr said. “We are supposed to be here helping each other, not hurting."

"I just feel like this is another burden for a lot of us. We are supposed to be here helping each other, not hurting."

--Redmond Resident Robin Knorr

A local business owner in Bend started a petition that would freeze rent and mortgages to help people like Knorr. John Davis, the man who created the petition is calling it a "Hail Mary."  

"I didn't really think many people would ever sign it honestly,” he said. “Just because you see petitions floating around all the time, and then 24 hours later it was at over 5,000, and I was like, ‘OK people are really paying attention to it.’"

As of Thursday evening, the petition had nearly 7,700 signatures.

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Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.


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