Multnomah County hosts free legal services day

People in need of free legal advice came to the Rosewood Initiative Friday for Multnomah County's legal services day. (KATU Photo)

For many, legal advice is costly. But on Friday, they got a break.

Multnomah County hosted a legal services day at Rosewood Initiative in Southeast Portland. It essentially brought the courthouse to the community.

“I’ve made a lot of life changes, and I’m ready to get my driver’s license back so I can drive legal,” said Starla Jenkins.

She hoped Friday’s trip to the Rosewood Initiative would be the last time she would need to worry about fines and fees.

“I’m just ready to do the right thing,” she said.

Jenkins was one of dozens of people who got free legal advice, hoping to get right with the court.

“Things like fines and fees have the ability to affect people disproportionately based on their income or their life circumstances, and this is one way we can kind of even that playing field a little bit,” said Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Anna Fuller.

Fuller said Friday’s legal services day provided an opportunity for people to finalize their cases.

“I think removing that barrier not only reduces anxiety for people in the community, they’re not spending every day worrying they’re going to get more fines and fee,” she said.

For Jenkins, it’s the latest barrier to getting on with her life.

“Since I’ve been out of prison, I got my GED at the age of 36,” she said. “I’m 41 now, and I’m just trying to do the right thing and try to raise my daughter the right way.”

Friday marked the anniversary of legal services day. So far, the county has handled more than 2,000 cases.

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