Eviction in Oregon in the Age of COVID-19 – Frequently Asked Questions

Eviction

On June 30, 2020, Governor Kate Brown signed HB 4213 into law, replacing Executive Order 20-13 as Oregon’s eviction moratorium. Among other things, HB 4213 restricts and prohibits certain landlord actions during the COVID-19 emergency period – defined as April 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020 – as they relate to residential and commercial tenants. Landlords and tenants should be aware of the changes made by HB 4213. We here at SYK have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions to clear the air on some of the changes this new law makes.

May I deliver a notice of termination to my tenant’s based on their failure to pay rent?

A qualified no. HB 4213 defines as the “emergency period – April 1 to September 30 – and prohibits evictions during that time. If your tenants fall behind on their rent or other charges between those dates, HB 4213 prohibits your ability to evict them based on that nonpayment balance.

However, if your tenant has a nonpayment balance that accrued prior to April 1, 2020, you may be able to proceed with an eviction on a termination of tenancy that was issued prior to April 1, 2020. Please note, it is important to point out that every county is in a different reopening phase. Some courts may not be willing to enforce eviction notices whether or not HB 4213 applies to your tenant. And some counties may have rules and orders related to evictions that are more stringent than the statewide law.

May I charge my tenants a late fee for failing to pay rent?

During the emergency period, a landlord may not assess a late fee. Additionally, a landlord may not report a tenant’s nonpayment as delinquent to any consumer credit agency.

If my tenant falls behind, but begins to pay again, may I apply that rent to their past due rent?

No; HB 4213 creates a new order for applying payments received from tenants. If you receive payments from your tenant, it must be applied first to rent for the current period, then to utility charges, then late rent payment charges, and finally to fees or charges owed for damage claims against the tenant.

What if I want to sell my rental property to someone who wants to make it their home?

HB 4213 allows for the sale of the property and termination of the tenancy in this circumstance. You are still able to sell your rental property, as long as a landlord provides at least 90 days’ written notice to a tenant not more than 120 days after accepting an offer to purchase, and the property is to be used as the buyer’s primary residence.

If your buyer, on the other hand, is going to use the rental property as a rental, then no notice to the tenant is required, and the tenancy continues.

Once the emergency period ends on September 30, 2020, may I begin the process of evicting my tenant for not paying rent during the months of April 2020 through September 2020?

No; HB 4213 also creates a six-month grace period that begins on October 1, 2020, and ends on March 31, 2021. This grace period is designed to give tenants time to pay their outstanding balance of rent. During that time, a landlord cannot evict a tenant based on a failure to rent during the emergency period. However, if a tenant fails to pay October 2020, rent – the first month outside of the emergency period – that failure can result in a properly issued eviction notice.

How will I know my tenant is going to use the rental period to pay their nonpayment balance? Does the tenant have an obligation to give notice?

Tenants are only required to give their landlords notice of their intention to use the grace period if the landlord sends them a written notice that states when the emergency period ended and that rent is still due. If a tenant fails to do so, a landlord can recover half of one month’s rent in damages once the grace period ends. A tenant’s notice must be actual notice under ORS 90.150 or ORS 91.110 or by electronic means delivered to the landlord. A landlord is not required to give their tenants notice of the grace period, although landlords have the option to do so if they choose. If a landlord does not give their tenant notice of the grace period, tenants do not have to give their landlords notice of their intention to use the grace period.

My tenant is receiving publicly funded rental assistance. Am I entitled to those funds as their landlord?

No; HB 4213 specifically states that a tenant is not required to pay all their publicly funded rent assistance to a landlord as payment for rent.

What if I want to evict my tenant for reasons other than nonpayment of rent? Am I allowed to do so?

Under HB 4213, a residential landlord, in most situations, cannot terminate a tenancy without cause during the emergency period. However, a residential landlord may terminate a tenancy without cause during the grace period. Though most no cause/landlord qualifying reasons for eviction are not available during the emergency period, a residential landlord should consult an attorney about their particular situation. HB 4213 does not prohibit commercial landlords from terminating for no cause. HB 4213 also does not prohibit landlords for terminating for cause. Please note that courts in counties that are in Phase 1 of reopening may not be hearing eviction proceedings yet, pursuant to the Chief Justice’s Orders issued in May. Check with your county’s court clerk to determine whether eviction proceedings have resumed in your county.

Are there any penalties for trying to evict my tenant?

A landlord who violates HB 4213 may owe their tenant up to three months’ rent, actual damages, and attorney fees, if a tenant prevails in court. Additionally, the tenant may receive an injunction to recover their possession of the rental property.

Denise Gorrell draws upon her extensive knowledge of restaurants and the wine industry to inform her real property and commercial law practice. She helps hospitality industry clients navigate complex, important issues such as business formation, real estate agreements, trademarks, OLCC rules and other governmental regulations.

Oregon Supreme Court: Churches’ Challenge Struck Down

New Multnomah County Courthouse

A group of churches and public officials in Baker County challenged Governor Brown’s executive orders aimed at slowing down COVID-19. On Friday, June 12, 2020, the Oregon Supreme Court struck down the churches’ challenge.

Previously, Judge Matthew Shirtcliff of the Baker County Circuit Court granted a preliminary injunction, which rejected a number of Governor Brown’s “Stay Home Save Lives” restrictions related to public gatherings and business operations. Judge Shirtcliff ruled that Governor Brown’s restrictions were unconstitutional.

Judge Shirtcliff’s decision was then heard by the Oregon Supreme Court. Governor Brown’s challengers conceded that the governor had the power to limit public gatherings and business operations during a pandemic. However, they argued that she could only do so for a period of 28 days. Attorneys for Governor Brown argued that the police powers granted to the governor in ORS chapter 401 authorize certain emergency powers.

While the plaintiffs in the Baker County case argued for a 28-day limit, other groups in locales across the country are rooting their arguments elsewhere. Such is the case where churches allege that stay home orders infringe on religious freedom, granted by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Governor Brown’s challengers raised this argument, but the Oregon Supreme Court chose not to address those allegations.

The Oregon Supreme Court considered other jurisdictional decisions, including the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as a lawsuit brought against the California Governor Gavin Newsom. In Jacobson v. Massachusetts, decided over one-hundred years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court supported elected officials’ broad power to respond to public health emergencies. In South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request to suspend the California governor’s executive order placing limits on public gatherings in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

As the global pandemic continues to affect communities across the nation, lawmakers and government officials face the continuing debate on whether restricting public gatherings and business operations violates the constitutional rights of Americans – both in their state constitutions as well as the U.S. Constitution. Only time will tell how other state courts – and federal courts – address challenges to these restrictions.

Denise Gorrell draws upon her extensive knowledge of restaurants and the wine industry to inform her real property and commercial law practice. She helps hospitality industry clients navigate complex, important issues such as business formation, real estate agreements, trademarks, OLCC rules and other governmental regulations.

Colleen Muñoz is a litigator at SYK. Her practice is centered around commercial and fiduciary litigation focusing on real property, employment, and construction law.

COVID-19 Federal, State, and Local Prohibitions Against Non-Payment Evictions

Real Estate

“Landlords are temporarily prohibited from filing new eviction actions for nonpayment of rent as a result of COVID-19”

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged Oregon State Governor Kate Brown to issue a Stay at Home order effective statewide in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. As a result, many individuals are out of work, causing emotional stress and financial hardship.

Federal, state, and local governments have each taken action in an attempt to reduce financial stress on residential and commercial tenants.

Federal Response

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”). In Section 4024, the CARES Act imposed immediate protections for some residential tenants. Specifically, the CARES Act placed a federal eviction moratorium for nonpayment of rent on covered properties. Landlords are temporarily prohibited from filing new eviction actions for nonpayment of rent as a result of COVID-19, as well as prohibited from charging late fees or other penalties for tenants’ nonpayment of rent. It is critical for landlord to review the definition of covered properties, and confer with a knowledgeable attorney is they are unsure whether they own a covered property.

The moratorium took effect immediately on March 27, 2020 and expires July 25, 2020. Landlords, that own covered properties, are prohibited from evicting residential tenants for nonpayment of rent during the entire course of the moratorium. After the moratorium expires, the landlord may take action against non-paying tenants, subject to a federally imposed 30-day notice to vacate. Please note that the CARES Act does not affect evictions unrelated to non-payment.

Oregon Response

On April 1, 2020, Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order 20-13 (“EO 20-13”). EO 20-13 declared a moratorium on certain terminations of residential rental agreements and non-residential leases.

During this moratorium, any residential or non-residential tenant who is or will be unable to pay the full rent when due under their rental agreement or lease shall notify the landlord as soon as reasonably possible. Additionally, tenants shall make partial rent payments to the extent that they are financially able to do so.

With regard to non-residential tenants, the tenant must provide their landlord, within 30 calendar days of unpaid rent being due, with documentation or other evidence that nonpayment is caused by, in whole or in part, the COVID-19 pandemic. EO 20-13 does not require similar proof for residential tenants.

Consequently, the landlord may not, for reason of nonpayment of rent (which EO 20-13 defines to include evictions without cause), late charges, utility charges, or any other service charge or fee, terminate the tenant’s rental agreement or take any action, judicial or otherwise, relating to an eviction arising under ORS 105.105 through ORS 105.168. Prohibited actions include, without limitation, filing, serving, delivering or acting on any notice, order or writ of termination, or interfere with the tenant’s right to possession of the premises.

The moratorium does not relieve a tenant from paying rent, utility charges, or any other service charges or fees. The moratorium does, however, relieve a tenant from paying for late charges or other penalties arising from nonpayment.

The moratorium began April 1, 2020 and will continue in effect until June 30, 2020, unless terminated sooner by Governor Kate Brown. Any person found to be in violation of EO 20-13 is subject to criminal penalties.

Multnomah County Response

Prior to the announcement of EO 20-13, on March 11, 2020, the Multnomah County Chair signed Executive Order 388 (“EO 388”), declaring an emergency for Multnomah County and announcing a moratorium on residential evictions for nonpayment of rent and rent deferral  in Multnomah County. EO 388 was ratified by the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners on March 19, 2020, and the Multnomah Commissioners adopted Ordinance 1282 putting in effect the County wide eviction moratorium. On April 16, 2020, the Multnomah Commissioners passed Ordinance 1284 that suspended the enforcement of Ordinance 1282, in order to align the County with the Governor’s EO 20-13. Ordinance 1284 continues the six month grace period for residential tenants to repay their unpaid rent, but tenants no longer need to provide proof of the substantial loss of income to their landlords or notify their landlords on or before the day that the rent is due that they are unable to pay rent. The tenants instead need to notify their landlords as soon as reasonably possible that they are unable to pay rent.

Multnomah County Ordinance 1284 does not relieve a tenant of paying rent. The tenant must still pay the missed rent within 6 months after expiration of the emergency; however, no late fees will accrue.

Civil proceedings to enforce Ordinance 1284, may be instituted by Multnomah County or the tenant. A landlord that fails to comply with any of the requirements set forth in Ordinance 1284 shall be subject to appropriate injunctive relief, and for an amount up to 3 times the monthly rent, as well as actual damages, reasonable attorney fees, and costs.

Properties within Multnomah County are subject to both the statewide EO 20-13 moratorium and the Multnomah County Ordinance 1284.

For assistance in determining how your property may be affected by the CARES Act, EO 20-13, and Ordinance 1284, we encourage you to speak with a knowledgeable real estate attorney.

Denise Gorrell draws upon her extensive knowledge of restaurants and the wine industry to inform her real property and commercial law practice. She helps hospitality industry clients navigate complex, important issues such as business formation, real estate agreements, trademarks, OLCC rules and other governmental regulations.

Colleen Munoz

 

Colleen O. Muñoz is a law clerk at and certified law student at SYK who graduated with honors from Lewis & Clark Law School in January 2020. She published a law review article in March 2020 dissecting the categorical approach to contested deportation proceedings.

Heat Wave Reminder – Oregon Law Allows Public Intervention if a Child or Animal is in Danger

Pets left in vehicles

A law recently passed in Oregon allows the public to step up if there is a child or animal they believe to be in danger – without being held liable for damages.

Portland is currently in the midst of what could be a record breaking heat wave. The city is forecast to have temperatures climbing above 100 degrees this week. Health officials are urging citizens to stay hydrated and take precautions when traveling.

The state of Oregon also is doing its part to protect those who may not be able to protect themselves. A new law protects Good Samaritans from both civil and criminal liability if they break a vehicle window to help either an unattended child or animal that they believe to be in danger.

House Bill 2732 was signed into immediate effect by Gov. Kate Brown at the end of June 2017.

Previously, citizens were required to contact law enforcement before stepping in to help a child or animal that was locked inside of a hot car.

The law goes on to explain that individuals should “use no more force than is necessary to enter the [car] and remove the child or animal”. After they are removed, the individual would also need to stay with them, until both police and first responders arrive, or the vehicle’s owner returns.

KATU reports that “the law is intended to help children and pets left alone in parked cars during sweltering heat. Concerned citizens should first try to locate the vehicle’s owner and contact the local animal control agency or police department before breaking into the vehicle. Breaking a car window should be considered a last resort.”

The Oregon Humane Society has said that temperatures inside cars can become oven-like in just 20 minutes.

Portland “Relocation Assistance” Ordinance Requires Landlords Pay

Tenant Landlord

Portland City Council Passes Ordinance Requiring Landlords to Pay Tenant’s Moving Costs

On the evening of February 2, 2017, the Portland City Council passed an ordinance that will require landlords to pay for relocation assistance to their tenants. The ordinance will enable tenants to be paid for moving costs when their landlord has either raised the rent by 10% or more or has served a “no cause” termination notice on the tenant.

The Ordinance is in response to the housing state of emergency that was declared by the city in October of 2015 and is intended to assist renters during the continued housing crisis in Portland.

The relocation assistance ordinance is considered to be the strongest renter protection Portland has ever seen with costs to landlords ranging from $2,900 to $4,500, depending on the type of dwelling unit rented.

While tenant advocates claim that the Ordinance is a necessary step in protecting renters, landlord advocates claim the Ordinance may bankrupt landlords who already face property maintenance costs and increasing property taxes.

The new Ordinance amends the “Portland Renter Additional Protections” section of city ordinance 30.01.085, which lists a landlord’s obligation when terminating a tenancy or raising the rent. In addition to requiring a landlord to deliver a written notice of termination to the tenant not less than 90 days before the termination date, the new Ordinance states that a landlord must pay the mandated relocation assistance to the tenant not less than 75 days prior to the termination date.

If a landlord chooses to raise the rent by 10% or more, in addition to providing a 90 day notice prior to the increase taking effect, the landlord must now also be ready to pay the relocation fee. The new Ordinance provides that if within 14 days after receiving the written notice the tenant provides written notice of termination to the landlord, the landlord must then pay the tenant the relocation amount within 14 days.

A landlord’s failure to comply with any of the Ordinance’s requirements could result in liability to the tenant for three months rent, actual damages, the relocation assistance amount, reasonable attorney fees, and costs.

After hearing from dozens of mom and pop landlords, the Portland City Council included at least one late amendment which will exempt landlords only managing one rental unit. Other listed exemptions to the ordinance include: week-to-week tenancies, landlords who temporarily rent out their principal residence during an absence of less than 1 year, or to tenants that occupy the same dwelling unit as the landlord. The final version of the new Ordinance has not yet been released.

Prior to the Portland City Council’s decision, attorneys representing landlords in the Portland area said they would sue if the city passed the Ordinance. During the city council hearing landlords’ complained of not being consulted in the drafting of the Ordinance as well as issues involving the vagueness of the Ordinance.

One issue that may arise is with landlords who intended to only rent a property for a fixed term tenancy and expressed as much in the rental agreement. The new Ordinance means that a landlord will have to pay a relocation fee if they choose to not renew the tenant’s lease on substantially the same terms.

The Ordinance, which was immediately enacted, will remain valid potentially as long as the city’s housing emergency continues. Currently the emergency is scheduled to lapse in October, however in the past it has been extended.

The Oregon Residential Landlord Tenant Act (“ORLTA”) and the Portland City Code (“Code”) is highly technical and landlords are well advised to consult with a real estate attorney knowledgeable about ORLTA and the Code before issuing any termination or rent increase notices.

Read the Ordinance and other relevant documents on the city of Portland’s website.

Unwanted Occupants – a Trap for the Unsuspecting Fiduciary

Tenant Landlord

Dad Died & I Need To Evict or Eject His Adult Child

Personal Representatives, Trustees and Conservators hold positions of tremendous responsibility. Frequently these fiduciaries are faced with challenges caused or exacerbated by relatives, or even acquaintances, of the protected person, decedent, or primary beneficiary. One challenge that frequently arises is when the fiduciary needs to sell a primary residence to generate liquid funds for the Estate or Trust and a family member or acquaintance tenant or other occupant is residing in the residence. Some buyers are willing to purchase a home occupied by a tenant, but such willingness dissipates rapidly when the tenant or occupant is not paying rent.

Under the best circumstances, a month-to-month lease will be in place and the tenant will be paying rent on time. This is the traditional landlord-tenant relationship. In this situation, provided the fiduciary does not want to market the property with the tenant in residence, the fiduciary can issue a 30- or 60-day no-cause termination notice (different notice provisions apply in the city of Portland). If the tenant does not willingly move out prior to the expiration of the notice, it may be necessary for the fiduciary to file a Forcible Entry and Detainer lawsuit (otherwise known as an “FED” or “eviction” lawsuit). These residential evictions are fast-tracked by the court. In Multnomah County, the fiduciary’s first court day in an eviction trial is generally 8 days after the lawsuit is filed (as opposed to several months in a typical civil case). During this first court appearance, provided both the fiduciary and the tenant show up, the judge strongly encourages the parties to come to an agreement and avoid a trial. In this scenario, this may mean that the tenant gets an additional two weeks to move out. If no agreement is reached, then a trial is scheduled.

Under Oregon law, the trial is to take place no later than 15 days after the first court appearance. If the fiduciary prevails at trial, the tenant will need to move out within a few days, or the sheriff will forcibly remove the tenant. Tenant will also owe the Estate or Trust the fiduciary’s reasonable attorney’s fees. These fees can be surprisingly high. A relatively straightforward residential eviction lawsuit, through trial, can cost upwards of $5,000 – although I have personally had two particularly challenging evictions, once as the landlord’s attorney and once as the tenant’s attorney, where the prevailing party attorney fees and costs exceeded $30,000.

A word of caution, Oregon landlord-tenant law is very tenant friendly and highly technical. Many a wary landlord finds himself running afoul of the law. If the landlord has not dotted all his “i”s and crossed all his “t”s, he or she may find themselves as the losing party and owing thousands of dollars to the lawyer of the tenant they were trying to evict.

As daunting as the FED process above sounds, removing an occupant who never established a tenancy, may be even costlier and more time consuming. Numerous Oregon cases have found that family members were not tenants, due to the specific circumstances under which the family members came to live in the house. In some of these cases, it was necessary to file an ejectment lawsuit. Ejectment lawsuits are heard on the regular civil court docket. This means that it may be several months before the case goes to trial and likely tens of thousands of dollars will be spent in motion practice and preparing for trial.

If you find yourself as a fiduciary (or attorney for a fiduciary) needing to remove a family member or acquaintance from estate or trust property, please consult with me or another experienced landlord attorney before you take any action. Please also contact me if you find yourself in any other real estate disputes or are seeking counsel in advance to avoid finding yourself falling into a trap.

Denise represents clients on real estate disputes, business dissolutions, and trust contests. She also helps hospitality and wine industry clients navigate complex, important issues such as business formation, real estate agreements, trademarks, OLCC rules and other governmental regulations. Please contact Denise directly at denise.gorrell@samuelslaw.com.

So You Want to Sell Your Own Home

Real Estate

For Sale by Owner or FSBO are attractive in a seller’s market. Weekly solicitations from eager Buyers are common. Technology has put selling your home yourself a few clicks away. Websites like Zillow allow you to post a listing. Pinterest and Google can give you pointers on how to stage your home. A brochure may be easily made using a word processor (or get a technologically savvy friend to do it).

There are upsides to FSBO and downsides, just as there are upsides and downsides of using a real estate agent. When homeowners hire a real estate agent to sell their home, the buyer’s and seller’s agent make a combined commission that can run up to 5-6% of your home’s sales price. This entire commission is paid out of the sales proceeds. This means that if your home sells for $300,000, the commission will be upwards of $18,000. Not wanting to pay that commission is one of the primary reasons people choose to sell their homes themselves. FSBO homes can sell quicker than agent-assisted homes. On the other hand, FSBO often sell for lower prices than an agent-assisted sale. This is likely due to the real estate agent’s expertise and in-depth knowledge of the real estate market.

One of the most common concerns with FSBO, is the Seller is responsible for making all the required disclosures and negotiating the documents involved in closing the sale. It is easy to get lost trying to navigate it all and miss something. That mistake could be costly down the road, and may even result in litigation. Reducing the seller’s exposure is the bailiwick of the listing agent. An attorney is essential for those without an agent. An attorney will draft and review documents before the Seller signs them and will make sure the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. An attorney will typically charge hourly for his or her time, not as a percentage of the home’s sales price. Attorney fees will also be significantly less than the commission an agent will charge, as the number of hours to represent a seller in a home sale do not exponentially increase as the price of the house increases.

The decision to hire (or not hire) a real estate agent is personal, depending on your own comfort level, confidence in your abilities, and time you’re willing to commit. If you do choose to go the FSBO route, however, you are encouraged to confer with an experienced real estate attorney.

 

Coquine Receives 2016 Restaurant of the Year Award

Congratulations to Coquine! The local neighborhood Café and Restaurant was awarded Portland’s 2016 Restaurant of the Year award by The Oregonian.

Coquine is not quite a year old, but has been drawing local and national attention. The Oregonian article states “Coquine replaces fireworks and unnecessarily bold flavors with subtlety and unerringly precise technique.” Read the full article on The Oregonian’s site for more information on the Restaurant, the Owners, and the Award.

9th Circuit Upholds DOL’s Restrictions on Tip Pooling

On February 23, 2016, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held in Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association v. Perez (9th Cir., No. 13-35765 [Feb. 23, 2016]) that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has the authority to regulate the tip pooling practices of all employers, not just those who take a tip credit. This is a considerable expansion of their authority.

In 2011, the DOL issued a rule that changed the requirements of tip pooling.  Prior to this rule, the DOL could only regulate the tip-pooling practices of employers who used a tip credit. The DOL did not have authority to impose these requirements on employers who pay their employees at least the federal minimum wage. The 2011 rule changed that. Now, all employers are subject to section 203(m) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regardless of whether the employer uses a tip credit or not.

Two cases were brought separately, one in Oregon and one in Nevada, challenging this rule. The district courts in both of these cases sided with the employers, holding that the new rule was not valid. The Ninth Circuit reversed both cases in a 2-1 decision, saying that the DOL had the authority to establish this rule. One judge issued a scathing opinion in dissent, saying that this ruling was contrary to precedent.

What are the requirements under the rule?

Any tip pool that includes employees who would not customarily receive tips is invalid. In a restaurant, servers and bartenders are customarily tipped, while the kitchen staff is not. A valid tip pool in a restaurant could not include kitchen staff. Therefore the employer cannot require the servers and bartenders share their tips with the kitchen staff. However, a tip pool comprised of only customarily tipped employees may still be valid.

When will this become effective?

A federal appellate court ruling is not effective until the court issues a mandate. The minimum timeline for a mandate is 21 days from when the court issues its opinion, so at the earliest this ruling will be effective on March 14, 2016. However, the deadline may be extended if the plaintiffs petition for a rehearing or if they petition the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari.

According to the website for one of the plaintiffs, the National Restaurant Association, they are still considering their legal options. There is a good chance that at least one of the plaintiffs will either petition the Ninth Circuit for a rehearing or petition the Supreme Court of the United States. In the meantime, restaurants in states covered by the Ninth Circuit should be preparing to make changes to their tip pools on short notice. States covered by the Ninth Circuit are Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

If you have questions about complying with these DOL regulations or the impact of this recent case, be sure to contact an attorney who is well versed in hospitality law.

Attorney Denise Gorrell has a unique background in hospitality law. She spent over a decade in the Seattle hospitality sector, which included time with wine retailer Esquin and the award winning restaurant Wild Ginger. Her experience gives her a deep understanding of the challenges faced by food and beverage entrepreneurs. She helps hospitality industry clients navigate complex, important issues such as business formation, real estate agreements, trademarks, OLCC rules and other governmental regulations.

Coquine and Rucker – 2016 James Beard Awards Semifinalists

James Beard Award

Congratulations to Coquine and Gabriel Rucker, chef of Le Pigeon and Little Bird.

Coquine is a semifinalist a James Beard Award as Best New Restaurant in the United States. The Portland French inspired restaurant opened in July of this past year in the Mount Tabor neighborhood. We at SYK are fans of Portland Monthly’s “2015 Cookie of the Year”, Coquine’s take on a chocolate chip cookie.

Chef and author Gabriel Rucker is up for the James Beard Outstanding Chef Award this year. In 2011, he received the James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef of the Year, and in 2013, took the prize as Best Chef: Northwest. Last year Rucker, the founding chef owner of Le Pigeon and Little Bird Bistro, stepped back into the kitchen when the executive chef of Little Bird left the Portland hot spot.

We wish both owner and chefs the best of luck in their nominations, and look forward to another tasty year ahead for them (and our taste buds)!