The Oregonians still fighting to keep homes they have struggled to hold onto through the worst housing crisis in this state's history are not asking for much from the Legislature. A chance. That's all.
The Oregon Senate delivered last week, providing strong bipartisan support for two bills that would help homeowners facing foreclosure. Senate Bill 1552, based on pre-foreclosure mediation programs that have proved successful in 21 other states, passed by an overwhelming 26-4 vote. Twenty senators voted for Senate Bill 1564, which would prevent banks from negotiating a mortgage modification while simultaneously pursuing foreclosure.
These bills hold out hope for thousands of desperate homeowners. They do not create onerous or costly new regulations on lenders. And yet, House GOP leaders, including a committee chairman who represents Deschutes County, one of the hardest-hit housing markets in the country, so far are unwilling to even give them a hearing.