New Mediation Law Could Help Struggling Homeowners

Jul 10, 2012

Oregonians facing foreclosure will soon have another tool to stay in their house. A law that takes effect Wednesday allows struggling homeowners the chance to look their lender in the eye.

The foreclosure mediation system has been tried in about a dozen other states. Bankers and borrowers sit down across from each other to try to work out an agreement that keeps the homeowner in their home. What's the rate of success?

"It's about 50-50," says Ned Pope of the Collins Center for Public Policy. The Florida-based non-profit is training about 250 mediators in Oregon who will facilitate these negotiation sessions.

Long-time Oregon mediator Cynthia Moore says settling a dispute between parties is kind of like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

"They need to figure out how to put them together in a way that makes a picture they both like."

The sessions will cost the lender and the borrower about $200 apiece. The mediation process will also be open to people at risk of foreclosure but who aren't yet in default.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

On the Web:

Oregon Foreclosure Avoidance Mediation Program:

Oregon Senate Bill 1552: