In the past, courts have been places to resolve disagreements through a trial in front of a judge or jury. Trials are an important part of what the court does, but many more options have become available over the past 20 years. For example, mediation, the process of meeting with a neutral third party to try to come up with an agreed resolution, gives parties control over the outcome and costs less. Arbitration, an informal, streamlined, trial-type process, is also less costly and provides a quicker resolution than a trial. More information, about these, and other options, are available on this site.
Options also exist for people who have a disagreement and do not wish to file a lawsuit. For example, a free community mediation service, Neighbor to Neighbor is available to resolve disputes ranging from workplace issues to neighborhood problems. Private mediation services are also available and may be accessed through organizations such as the Oregon Mediation Association. Lists of court-approved mediators are also provided on the mediation page.