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Oregon Housing Agency Must Pay Settlement In Disability Discrimination Case

The Housing Authority of Douglas County must pay a $167,000 settlement after evicting a family with a disability service dog.
The Housing Authority of Douglas County must pay a $167,000 settlement after evicting a family with a disability service dog.

An Oregon housing agency must pay up after evicting a family with a disability service dog.

The state announced a $167,000 settlement against the Housing Authority of Douglas County, in southwest Oregon.

The dog was supposed to help recognize dangerously low blood sugar levels in a five-year-old diabetic girl. The girl's mother filed a discrimination complaint against the agency that runs the low-income apartments where the family lived in Reedsport, Oregon.

Raynie Casebier said property managers questioned whether the dog was actually needed and repeatedly harassed them. The family was eventually evicted. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries investigated the discrimination claim.

Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian says the law is clear.

"A landlord needs to reasonably accommodate people when they've got a disability such as this," he says. "It's one of the only ways that we can assure that people who are disabled have got a fair shot at getting a place to live."

The Housing Authority of Douglas County did not respond to a request for comment. But the agency acknowledged mistakes as part of the settlement and agreed to provide disability training for its staff.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.