The following is a brief summary answering the most frequently asked questions regarding Deschutes County Trial Courts Mediation program. If you would like to find out more about the Mediation program please contact:

Don Cole, Mediation Coordinator
Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson County Trial Courts
(541) 388-5300, extension 260

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary process wherein an impartial third person assists parties to discuss their perspectives of a dispute. The mediator does not give legal advice or make a decision for the parties. Instead, the parties are responsible for the decision; and the mediator’s role is to help the parties identify their concerns and to formulate a resolution which is mutually satisfactory.

Benefit of Mediation?

Mediation significantly reduces judicial case loads; parties report high satisfaction and statistics show that parties are much more likely to perform terms of a mediated agreement than terms of a court judgment.

Who are Mediators?

Mediators are volunteers.  To be a mediator, one needs to have good communication and language skills, an ability to remain impartial, and commitment to a collaborative approach for resolving conflict. Volunteer mediators have found their work to be very gratifying; and the also have found there new skills to apply beneficially in their personal and professional lives.

What qualifies a person to Mediate?

There is no educational prerequisite to becoming a mediator nor is there any preference for occupational background. But in order to qualify as a mediator there is an intensive 32 hour course in mediation skills and 6 hours of training in court procedures.  Completion of this initial training qualifies the mediator for Small Claims cases.  There is an additional 8 hour training for landlord-tenant cases. In addition, all of the mediators will have served an apprenticeship, observing mediations and conducting supervised mediations. Training is provided at no cost to volunteers, in exchange for a commitment to mediate two cases per month for one year.

How to volunteer?

The courts are recruiting volunteers to serve as mediators.  Persons interested in becoming a mediator and volunteering in this program are invited to call the mediation coordinator, Don Cole.