Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

Oregon Department of Justice - Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum
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CIVIL RIGHTS AGREEMENT REQUIRES PORTLAND APARTMENT COMPLEX OWNERS TO CEASE DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES AND PAY $55,000

February 24, 2012

Wah Mai Terrace Apartments agrees to eliminate policies that discriminate against children

Attorney General John Kroger today announced an agreement that resolves housing discrimination allegations against the owners and managers of a Southeast Portland apartment complex.

"The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Oregonians," said Attorney General Kroger.

The Department of Justice received several complaints about housing discrimination from current and former tenants with families at Wah Mai Terrace Apartments on Southeast Stark Street. Tenants alleged that Wah Mai Terrace Inc. and property manager, Norris & Stevens, engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination against families with children.

Once made aware of the allegations, Norris & Stevens and Wah Mai Terrace Apartment stepped forward to cooperatively resolve fair housing claims. Under the agreement announced today, Wah Mai and Norris & Stevens have agreed to remove policies from tenant rules and regulations that prohibit, among other things, children from riding bicycles, tricycles, "Big Wheels," skateboards or roller skates on the property, policies that prohibit children from having toys on private patios, or enforcement of policies that restrict where children can play on the property. These policy changes will apply to approximately 8300 units managed by Norris and Stevens.

Wah Mai and Norris & Stevens will participate in fair housing trainings and purchase a playground structure for the center courtyard area at Wah Mai Terrace Apartments. Wah Mai and Norris and Stevens further agreed to refrain from collecting on fines and other tenant debts that accrued as a result of enforcement of potentially unlawful policies.

The agreement also requires Wah Mai and Norris & Stevens to pay a total of $35,000 to 6 current and former tenants. The companies will pay attorney fees and costs of $20,000 to the Department of Justice and $9,816.36 to Legal Aid Services of Oregon.

"I want to thank Legal Aid Services of Oregon for its help in resolving claims of unlawful housing practices," said Attorney General Kroger. "Discrimination against families is unacceptable."

The Civil Rights Unit works with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, the Department of Veterans Affairs and other partners to investigate and resolve civil rights violations.

Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, promote a positive business climate, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.

Contact:

Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 tony.green@doj.state.or.us |
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