City Council to Consider Adding Housing Status to Salem’s Protected Classes

Posted on October 8, 2022

City of Salem – 10/07/22 5:30 PM

Salem, Ore. —  On Monday, October 10, 2022, Salem City Council will consider adding housing status as a protected class to its more than 50-year-old anti-discrimination code.  The move to add a section on housing status alongside other identities known as “protected classes,” including race, religion, and sexual orientation would, in effect, prohibit discrimination based on housing status in Salem.  The protection is not currently envisioned in Oregon’s Revised Statute.

In addition to adding housing status as a protected class under Salem’s City Code, amendments considered Monday night would also revise City Code references to gender identity and sexual orientation.

At its January 10, 2022, meeting, City Council adopted recommendations from the Salem Human Rights Commission and directed staff to prepare amendments to Salem Revised Code Chapter 97, pertaining to human rights.  Because housing status is not listed as a protected class under State law, to protect housing status in Salem a separate section is being added to the SRC Chapter 97 and the Human Rights Commission will be the primary and only source to investigate and make determination about complaints of discrimination on the basis of housing status.

Salem’s Revised Code Chapter 97, Salem’s human rights chapter, relies on Oregon’s Revised Statutes (ORS) for definitions of discrimination, in terms of employment, housing, and public accommodation. With certain exceptions, if a particular act isn’t discrimination under the ORS, then it is not prohibited under SRC chapter 97.

If you, or someone you know, has experienced discrimination in Salem, the Salem Human Rights Commission may be able to help. Email:  ights@cityofsalem.net“>humanrights@cityofsalem.net or call Gretchen Bennett at 503-540-2371.

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