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Caution tape in courtrooms at the Canyon County Courthouse in Caldwell prevents people from overcrowding and encourages social distancing, pictured here on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. Booths outside the courtroom allow people to attend courtroom proceedings from outside.

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A Canyon County pilot program to help tenants and landlords find alternatives to eviction court is showing signs of success, writes Idaho Press reporter Rachel Spacek. Third District Judge Susan Clark proposed the program in July because of the rising number of evictions in Canyon County due to the pandemic. The program launched Nov. 11.

Since then, the program has saved both tenants and landlords from an eviction hearing 76% of the time, said Benita Miller, assistant to the trial court administrator.

Evictions in the county are almost double this year over last year, Miller estimates.

The goal of the eviction mediation program is to have most cases addressed without a court hearing, Clark said, because a hearing could result in loss of payments for landlords and in a permanent eviction on a tenant's record.

You can read Spacek's full story here at, or pick up today's print edition of the Idaho Press; it's on the front page.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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