verything started falling apart in 2008 for Will and Heather Sirotak. Their grandson, who they’d adopted and were raising, died that year. Heather got cancer. Her insurance wouldn’t cover the treatment. The Sirotaks refinanced their house to pay the bills. Will lost his construction job. They missed a mortgage payment. Then another. They tried to sell, failed, went to court to avoid foreclosure and lost the fight. Last November their house became one of 50,000 in Oregon seized by banks and other lenders since 2007.
“All this talk about the recovery? I don’t feel it,” Heather Sirotak says. “I don’t see it. It’s not real for us or for a lot of other people.”
ga ge M es s
A law requiring mediation in non-judicial foreclosures was supposed to help stem the tide of homes lost in Oregon. But it has led to unintended consequences.
By Courtney Sherwood
16 | Willamette Lawyer
The same foreclosure crisis that forced the Sirotaks to spend Thanksgiving in a hotel before they settled in a North Portland rental has reshaped Oregon’s financial institutions and political landscape for the past five years, often with equally unsatisfying results.