Judge dismisses landlord’s complaint against Andrew Oswalt

A Confederate flag has been on display in a window of Andrew Oswalt’s room in The Pillar, a private men’s co-op located across the street from the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center, since September of 2017. 

Joe Wolf, Engagement Editor

A Benton County judge Tuesday dismissed the eviction complaint against Andrew Oswalt at the request of his landlord Oregon Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God (also known as The Pillar). Oswalt was recalled Friday, Feb. 16, from his position as a graduate representative in the Associated Students of Oregon State University.

Through attorney Andrew S. Noonan, The Pillar voluntarily asked the court to dismiss its complaint against the white nationalist on Monday, Feb. 19. Judge Matthew J. Donohue dismissed the matter on Tuesday, Feb. 20. Oswalt was set to appear in court on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

Although the judge had already dismissed the matter on Tuesday, Oswalt’s attorney Matthew G. Shepard filed his own motion for the court to dismiss the matter. In a seven-page court document, Shepard argues The Pillar did not fully comply with Oregon law when it originally served Oswalt with the notice that the landlord could take possession of the property. The notice did not specify a termination date and time for Oswalt’s tenancy, did not explicitly terminate the existing rental agreement and did not meet state statutes for termination, Shepard said.

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Oswalt was served with the notice on Feb. 14. According to the Residential Eviction Complaint, The Pillar was entitled to take possession of the property with one day’s notice regarding personal injury, substantial damage, unlawful occupation or an extremely outrageous act as defined by Oregon law.

In the Oregon Revised Statutes 90.396, a landlord may terminate a rental agreement with 24-hours notice for a number of reasons, including a tenant committing an act that is “outrageous in the extreme” on or near the premises. According to OregonLaws.org, these acts can include intimidation in the first degree. Oswalt was charged with two counts of this class C felony for allegedly placing racially charged bumper stickers on cars last year. Oswalt first made his white nationalist views public in an interview with The Barometer in January. That same day, he was arrested and later charged with two counts of intimidation.

The Barometer will continue to update this story as it develops.