Senate Bills Target Foreclosures

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Thu, February 9 2012 at 4:39 PM, Updated: Thu, February 9 2012 at 4:51 PM

One out of every five homeowners in Klamath County received a default notice last year, warning of possible foreclosure...

But a Klamath Falls woman is doing what she can to help keep other homeowners from losing their homes.

Beth Pederson almost lost her home when she became disabled. Pederson testified before state lawmakers earlier this week in Salem in support of two bills aimed at helping others avoid foreclosure.

Senate Bill 1564 would allow foreclosure only after all efforts to avoid foreclosure have ended.

Pederson explains that Senate Bill 1552 would "Institute mediation, so that there is a non-interested third party who can say, 'okay - the bank said this, the homeowner said this - this is what we're going to do to get together."

Senator Doug Whitsett thinks the bills may be unconstitutional.  "I'm leaning towards voting against them, because of that constitutionality issue.  I don't think that our government has the authority - I know that our government doesn't have the authority to change existing private contracts."

Pederson disagrees.  "Regulations exist in every aspect of our lives.  Regulations need to exist in this process also.  There's nobody standing up for the homeowners."

Pederson was able to get some assistance to save her home, but she notes that others haven't been as lucky.  "These were decent hardworking people, and with the downturn in the economy, have lost everything."

And while her trip to Salem was a long one, Pederson says she'd do it again.  "It's a bit nerve-wracking, but you know what?  It needed to be done."

It's estimated that over 120 thousand Oregonians owe more than their homes are worth.

SB-1564 and SB-1552 are both co-sponsored by Senator Alan Bates of Medford, and Senator Lee Beyer of Springfield.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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