Eviction Legal Defense

A mostly empty room that is brightly lit with two paintings, a chair and a side table with plants on it.
The Eviction Legal Defense Program provides eviction legal defense services to tenants facing eviction. This program is funded by the American Rescue Plan, which is investing in Portland’s recovery – and our future.

Low-income tenants have suffered significant financial and economic impacts as a result of the COVID pandemic. These hardships have been especially experienced by members of the BIPOC community who are disproportionately tenants. These hardships amplified existing housing insecurity. 

Loss of housing causes individuals and families to double up in housing or enter into shelters, both of which increases the chance of COVID-19 exposure transmission might occur. Researchers estimate that nationally evictions led to 430,000 excess cases of COVID-19 and 10,000 excess deaths during the summer of 2020. 

The Eviction Legal Defense program serves to promote housing stability for low-income tenants and mitigate the negative long-term impacts of evictions which include homelessness, decreased health outcomes, job loss, poor educational performance for children, and housing discrimination. 

Who does this program serve?

This project provides legal assistance to low-income tenants facing eviction. 

Tenants must meet the following criteria to qualify for the Eviction Legal Defense Program: 


December 2021: Eviction Legal Defense Program began 

June 30, 2023: All ARP funds for the Eviction Legal Defense Program must be spent

How do I apply for this program?  

Call 888-585-9638 or email evictiondefense@oregonlawcenter.org 

Please include in your message: 

  • Your name
  • Date of birth 
  • Whether you have a:
    • Termination notice, OR
    • Housing subsidy termination, OR
    • Eviction court case – If available, it is helpful to include your eviction court case number. 

How is this program funded?

The City of Portland has committed $4.7 million to this program. This money comes from the federal government’s 2021 American Rescue Plan local recovery funds. Portland will receive a total of $208 million from the American Rescue Plan and has the next few years to spend it. The City of Portland is spending money in three priority categories: 

  • Houselessness Response and Household Stabilization 
  • Small Business and Commercial District Stabilization 
  • Community Health and Safety 

Read more about these investments in this article: American Rescue Plan: Investing in Portland 

Who manages this program?

The Eviction Legal Defense program is managed by the Portland Housing Bureau. Portland Housing Bureau works toward the vision that all Portlanders can find affordable homes and have equitable access to housing. PHB is tasked with developing citywide housing policy, increasing affordable housing, promoting stable homeownership, and managing resources. 


The City is committed to sharing how American Rescue Act funding supports Portland people, households, businesses and community organizations. Check back for updates.