Oregon Voices gets lots of inquiries about moving to Oregon from people who believe that life on the registry will be easier here. In some ways that may be true. But the challenges of life on the registry in Oregon are still substantial, and great care should be exercised before deciding to make the move. We have developed this FAQ sheet to answer the most common questions we receive.
What are the residency restrictions in Oregon for people on the registry?
People on supervision have residency restrictions that are determined by their PO. There is not a standard rule, but the most common restriction seems to be no living within 1000 feet of a school, kindergarten, or a place where children congregate. That rule is sometimes relaxed later in supervision when trust has been earned. But the only way to know for sure is to meet one’s PO. There are no residency restrictions for persons who have completed supervision.
What are the public notification laws in Oregon?
Notification in Oregon depends upon risk level as determined by the Static 99R or the LS-CMI. Once an individual with a sex offense is classified into a level, a notifying or supervising agency can release information about that individual to:
- Level 1- a person that resides with the former offender.
- Level 2 – a person that resides with the former offender; a person with whom the former offender has a significant relationship; residential neighbors and churches, community parks, schools and child care centers, convenience stores, businesses and other places that children or other potential victims may frequent; and a long term care facility or a residential care facility if the agency knows that the former offender is seeking admission to the facility.
- Level 3 – all items under Level 2; local or regional media sources; and on the Department of State Police Sex Offender Registry website. Persons coming into the state report that while the relative anonymity of persons classified as level 1 or even 2 has advantages, people seeking that anonymity tend to keep their heads down, so here it is hard to find anything more than a small community for support and advice.
What is the housing situation like for people on the registry?
Housing is difficult to find for people on the registry. Oregon’s population has been growing more rapidly than new housing has been built, and there is a shortage of affordable housing stock, especially in the major population centers of the Portland metro area, Salem, Eugene, and Bend. While Oregon property values have generally been lower than those in California or Washington, they are rising rapidly during the pandemic. One person who moved to Portland in the middle of 2020 found that Portland rents were roughly double those in the sunbelt city from which he came. Vacancy rates for rental housing are exceptionally low and the volume of applications for available rentals is high. Many landlords will not even consider renting to people on the registry. Oregon Voices is working with other organizations to change this unfortunate reality. People who can purchase, rather than rent will often have an easier time locating stable housing.
Can a person on the registry find a job in Oregon?
Most persons we know on the registry in Oregon who are fortunate enough to find work are underemployed and limited to relatively low-paying jobs. People who do the best are those who are self-employed. While the job market had improved in Oregon before the pandemic, finding a job is still difficult, and the attitudes of employers are similar to those of landlords. People moving to Oregon report that background checks here tend to be more thorough than in a state with a public registry. One said that registrant status seemed to come up later in the hiring process if at all, so it was difficult to know whether registrant status was the reason for a refusal, or something else. He did add, though, that the benefit of not being on the public registry is that an employer willing to hire a registrant was less exposed and thus perhaps more willing to take a chance on hiring someone on the registry as a result.
Can a person from out of state get off the registry in Oregon?
Under current law, persons moving into the state can get off the registry in Oregon only if it is possible for them to get off in the state from which they come. That rule is being interpreted broadly at present. Persons classified as low risk (Level 1) and who meet certain other criteria can apply for relief from registration, but not until they have been off supervision for five years. More information on this subject can be found at the Oregon Board of Parole website.
What role does Oregon Voices play in the state?
Since we are small and have limited resources, our major focus has been on mutual support and on legislative initiatives. We have been active in the Oregon Legislature since 2011 and with the implementation process of the risk-based registry since 2015. We welcome new members, particularly members who are ready to join in with us on our work.
A final important note:
Oregon has long had the largest number of registrants per 100,000 population of any state. Further, that number continues to grow substantially every year, since the state’s ability to move people off the registry is overwhelmed by the much greater numbers of new registrants, perhaps 1/3 of whom are coming from out of state. This problem has raised significant concerns in the Oregon Legislature and makes it difficult to predict what changes might be made in Oregon’s system going forward.
Finding housing and jobs is still difficult in Oregon, and persons on the registry make up a sizable portion of our homeless population. No one should believe that coming to Oregon is a solution for all the problems of the registry. We advise anyone who has a source of support from family or friends in another state to think searchingly about leaving those behind to relocate to Oregon. If you do come however, Oregon Voices will welcome you into our network and provide what advice and assistance we can.