Action Committee News - Archive
Action Committee meetings and happenings
Opportunities for Involvement
There are various opportunities available to League members who want to help make a difference by getting actively involved in the community.
(1) Attend action committee meetings and increase your understanding of critical issues facing Portland.
(2) Add your name to the action and/or Portland Plan email list and receive reminders of monthly Action Committee meetings, Portland Plan public engagement opportunities and announcements of other meetings related to League issues.
(3) Become a League observer by attending public meetings and reporting back to the committee.
(4) Choose an issue, follow it closely and help shape League strategy in that specific area.
Letter to City Council Regarding the Joint Terrorism Task Force
Date February 22, 2011
There is no doubt Oregon law offers considerably stronger protections to its residents than federal law. ORS 181.575 prohibits collection or maintenance of information related to first amendment activities unless it “directly relates to an investigation of criminal activities, and there are reasonable grounds to suspect the subject of the information is or may be involved in criminal conduct.”
The 2008 Attorney General’s Guidelines give the FBI the authority to conduct "assessments" without any factual predicate and "preliminary investigations" based on a mere allegation of wrongdoing or the possibility of criminal activity. In a 2010 report, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Inspector General stated that this “possibility of criminal activity standard” is “easily attainable and speculative.” Furthermore, the 2008 Attorney General’s Guidelines loosened the limitations on the retention of information related to attendance at public events, clearly a first amendment activity. The Inspector General raised concerns about this change in the guidelines and recommended reinstatement of the prohibition on the retention of files of people attending public events.
Department of Justice representatives offered assurance that the FBI does not engage in activities that would violate Oregon law, but provided no vehicle for the city to monitor the actions of its police officers if they are assigned to the JTTF. The City Attorney’s office will not be allowed to review files. The FBI conducts regular audits of its files, but those audits are not available to the public and one must assume that they would check for compliance with federal law, not Oregon law.
To summarize, the League urges City Council to enter into an agreement with the FBI that continues cooperation with the JTTF on a case-by-case basis. The agreement should require periodic review by the City Attorney and the IPR director of all critical incident and intelligence related files created by Portland police officers working with the FBI. In addition, the results of these reports should be presented on a regular basis to City Council and be available to the public. Thank you for considering our position.
The City of Portland and the Portland Development Commission (PDC) initiated the Portland Main Street program in 2009. The program is implemented in coordination with the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street Center. Our October Action Committee speaker, Claudia Plaza, serves as PDC’s Main Street coordinator.
The handout provided by Ms. Plaza describes the program. The Main Street approach aims to encourage economic development within the context of historic preservation that is appropriate to today’s marketplace. It emphasizes community self-reliance, empowerment, and the re-building of commercial areas based on unique architecture, personal service, local ownership, and a sense of community.
Three neighborhood commercial districts, Alberta, Hillsdale, and St. Johns, were selected through a competitive process. Each district demonstrated its ability to create an organization dedicated to revitalization by forming a board of directors that includes representatives from merchants, residents, property owners, and institutions; raising funds sufficient to hire a full-time Main Street executive director; committing to ongoing annual fund raising; and recruiting volunteers to staff commit-tees focused on organization, promotion, design, and economic restructuring.
The four basic approaches of the Main Street Program include:Organization:
This includes the formal and grassroots organizing that are essential to identifying the common goals and vision of the business district and executing them.Promotion:
A successful main street creates a positive image and builds community pride. Retail promotions, special events, and image development are activities that stimulate commercial activity and increase visibility.Design:
Participants in the Main Street Program direct attention to the physical elements that make a commercial district unique and preserve historic qualities. The design committee is responsible for promoting projects that improve the district’s appearance and design.
Economic Restructuring: Strengthening existing businesses, improving the commercial mix, and using underdeveloped and vacant properties are all part of the Main Street approach to economic restructuring. This is accomplished through completion of a market analysis and development of a plan to recruit businesses that will make good additions to the area and retaining and strengthening businesses.
The three Portland Main Street Pro-gram participants will receive technical support from PDC and the National Trust for Historic Preservation and PDC-provided grants. Design assistance, basic training for board members and executive directors, workshops, promotion funding, and program assessment are some of the services provided.For more information, visit PDC’s Main Street page
City Commissioner Amanda Fritz with Action Committee members
The League commented on the Portland Plan Background Report (PDF, 90 KB)
The League of Women Voters of Portland sent this letter to the PDC about affordable housing in the North Macadam Urban Renewal Area.
Commentary submitted to the Oregonian after a US Supreme Court decision opened a new door for the deepest-pocketed players to spend money on independent campaigns to elect or defeat federal candidates. (PDF, 69KB)
The commentary was published in the Oregonian.
The League of Women Voters of Portland sent a letter to the PDC board and city Commissioner Nick Fish urging them to retain the rights to build affordable housing above a future parking garage in South Waterfront.October 2009
Metro Making the Greatest Place..Portland Police Review