|Volume 7, Issue 1||
Dispute mediation services available
The City of Beaverton’s Dispute Resolution Center is a service of the Mayor’s Office providing mediation services and conflict resolution education for the citizens of Beaverton, and all citizens of Washington County east of 185th Avenue.
Mediation is a negotiation process where a neutral third party, a mediator, helps parties work together to resolve conflict. The mediator doesn’t solve problems, but does help parties work together toward a mutually beneficial resolution. The parties have complete control throughout the process, jointly seeking the best possible resolution, while preserving important relationships. Because parties take responsibility for their own solutions, they are more likely to keep their agreements.
The Dispute Resolution Center does not handle disputes in which there is a pattern of violence or physical abuse between parties, when a party is impaired by drugs or alcohol, in cases where a person cannot adequately represent him or her self, where one party refuses to willingly participate, or where a party is unwilling to negotiate in good faith.
The Beaverton Dispute Resolution website (www.beavertonoregon.gov/departments/disputeresolution/) offers pages on steps to resolution, suggestions for dealing with difficult people, active listening and further resources.
The Dispute Resolution Center provides six mediation programs tailored to customer needs:
The Neighborhood Mediation program encourages and assists citizens to voluntarily resolve disputes at the community level. Disputes involving noise, fences, parking, vandalism, animal complaints, pet control, property damage or maintenance, harassment, minor assaults, and conflicts over money and personal property are some of the types of issues appropriate for mediation.
In contrast to enforcement options, or the conventional “win / lose” option of litigation, mediation enables neighbors to work together to solve problems and enhance neighborhoods.
The Landlord / Tenant Mediation program was established to serve the needs of the growing multifamily community in eastern Washington County. Disputes involving late payment of rent, evictions, deposits, repairs, damage, rental agreement violations, pets, noise, and neighbor relations are some of the types of issues appropriate for mediation.
The Homeowners Association Mediation program is designed to provide a time-efficient, convenient, and confidential forum for the resolution of disputes involving Homeowners Associations and interested parties who are endeavoring to comply with state law
The Manufactured Dwelling Park Mediation program was established through a contract with Oregon Housing and Community Services to assist park owners and residents in resolving concerns associated with their parks and living situations.
The Business / Consumer Mediation program assists consumers and merchants in resolving disputes through the use of professionally trained mediators. Disputes involving service agreements, damage, repairs, refunds, warranty issues, replacements, salesperson complaints, billing, withheld payments, noise, and parking issues are just some of the types of issues appropriate for mediation.
The mediation process allows all parties to come away from conflicts with a sense that their needs have been met while avoiding the time, cost, and uncertainty of the more conventional “win / lose” option of litigation. For the consumer and retailer this means a savings of time and money. For the merchant, a fair and prompt resolution can mean improved customer satisfaction, and the possibility of increased sales and greater customer loyalty.
The Elder Mediation program is designed to provide a confidential, safe, and informal means for elder citizens to resolve conflict through the use of professionally trained volunteer mediators.
The mediation process allows elders and those who care for and about them an opportunity to clarify what is most important to them, share resources, consider alternatives, and find effective and satisfying solutions to the dilemmas that face them.
People who need help beyond the information on the website are invited to call, write, e-mail, come in or report a problem using an online form. The Center’s intake specialist will take a brief description of your problem, explain the mediation process, and determine a suitable time for a mediator to call. If your concern is not appropriate for mediation, they will refer you to other resources.
In addition, the Dispute Resolution Center has an ongoing commitment to teach citizens about the nature of conflict, and how they can better manage and resolve everyday conflict in their lives. They are available to talk to groups, and also offer a 44-hour Basic Mediation Training program for volunteers. Mediation training is free for citizens who agree to volunteer with the Center for a minimum of one year for approximately 2–3 hours per week. There are a limited number of positions available so admission to the training is competitive. Call them at (503) 526-2523 to find out more about the service.
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