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More OR Outreach Needed For HOA Chemical Exemption

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Wednesday, May 11, 2022   

As the safety debate over pesticides and other chemicals often used for lawn and property maintenance continues, Oregon residents now have more options than ever. But are they aware of their rights?

Beaver State residents living in homeowner associations are now able to opt out of previously mandated chemical sprays.

Rep. Courtney Neron, D-Sherwood/Wilsonville, sponsored House Bill 2409, which went into effect Jan. 1.

She said more outreach is needed to make sure her constituents, and other Oregon residents, understand the change.

"It allows homeowners to make informed decisions about whether or not they want pesticides applied on their property," Neron pointed out. "Including herbicide and insecticide, etc., as might be required by their HOA."

Neron introduced the measure during the 2021 legislative session, and it was signed into law last May. She explained there has been some confusion over what the bill allows HOA residents to opt out of, noting it does not allow Oregon residents to forgo all landscaping care.

Homeowners now have more choice in what chemicals are or are not sprayed on their property, while still having to maintain their lawns in other ways they may believe are safer for their health.

Neron added an information campaign may be needed to better get out the word.

"Going forward, an education campaign would still be beneficial for people to understand their options," Neron suggested. "And potentially even understand and have a bit of education about common chemicals that are used."

Jennifer Eisele, pesticide program manager for the nonprofit Beyond Toxics, which supports community-driven environmental justice in Oregon, said more work needs to be done.

"There are a lot of homeowners that we've heard from since this bill has passed," Eisele remarked. "With a lot of concerns about implementation and ensuring that their homeowners association is aware of this bill and giving them the opportunity to opt out of landscape services."

Eisele added opting out does not necessarily mean taking yard work into your own hands, noting many Oregon companies offer landscaping services without the use of herbicides, insecticides and other harmful chemicals.

Disclosure: Beyond Toxics contributes to our fund for reporting on Environment, Environmental Justice, Social Justice, and Toxics. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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