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101 Years, Making Democracy Work

February 14th is a momentous day for the League – especially in Oregon. The League of Women Voters was founded on February 14, 1920. Oregon became a state 162 years ago on February 14, 1859. (And of course it’s Valentine’s Day.)

In 2020, we celebrated our Centennial with memorabilia, a slide show and a video highlighting past and present achievements. Then we had a panel discussion, which not only reviewed the past, but also pointed to our future. And ended with a toast to our second century!

Our 101st year has been a blockbuster, with more than 101 important achievements!

Voter Service

-Since our Centennial, our voter service has included:
  • Producing neutral nonpartisan voter information for the Primary, Special and  General Elections
  • Distributing 10,600 printed copies of English and Spanish voters’ guides for the Primary and General Elections  (in spite of the pandemic)
  • Producing a total of 83 candidate-interview videos for our Video Voters’ Guides in the Primary and General Elections. These videos had more than 17,000 views.
  • Producing a total of nine videos of voter forums (five for candidates; four for measures). These had 3,721 views.
  • Providing voter registration information in person (when possible) and online
  • Reaching at least 59,873 Portland area voters with Vote411.org
  • Reaching about 43,000 voters with the voting resources on our website
  • Presenting 18 online Speakers’ Bureau presentations to 502 voters
  • Updating our Directory of Elected Officials for Multnomah County

Advocacy

-Our advocacy work in this past year has included:
  • Five letters to the Portland City Council and one to US District Judge Simon (Click here to read these and other advocacy statements.)
  • An In Our Opinion column and a Letter to the Editor in The Oregonian
  • Support for six local ballot measures, including two Voters’ Pamphlet statements, based on our research and advocacy positions
  • Helping gather signatures for the redistricting (“People not Politicians”) ballot initiative
  • Action Committee presentations on earthquake risks, industrial land, economic opportunities planning, wildfire management, and police reform.

Civic Education

-In addition, we produced four free recorded informational programs which have had more than 700 combined views:

And More!

-To publicize all the information we offered, we used our social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram), sent out hundreds of press releases, and paid for ads on three radio stations and in four online and print newspapers.
-Plus, our 2020-21 study of Police Accountability is almost finished! And we have given copies of our recent study and position on Portland’s City Government to members of the Charter Review Commission.

Thanks to our volunteers and our donors for their gifts of time and money, which made these achievements possible.

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Watch the video: From Houseless to Housing

We are living at a time when many people cannot afford decent housing. But there are creative solutions to the problems these people face.

The three speakers for our “From Houseless to Housing” panel discussion were:

Listen as they explain how their organizations help people overcome the obstacles that made them homeless. The work being done is amazing in its scope.  And the outcomes are inspiring. With housing and supportive services, people can turn their lives around.

Click the arrow below to watch the recording.

You can read more about the speakers here.

(NOTE: Dr. Solotaroff had to cancel unexpectedly just before the program.)

This video also will be cablecast on public access channels. See the schedule below.

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NEW Directory of Elected Officials!

Photo of cover of Directory
Photo of the cover page of the 2021-23 Directory of Elected Officials

We’ve updated our Directory of Elected Officials. Read it by clicking here. You’ll find information about how to contact all the elected representatives who serve people in our area. There are websites, emails, or phone numbers for everyone from President Biden to the directors of the Fire Districts.

When you have a concern about government, you can use this contact info to ask questions or express your opinion. The Directory also has information about political parties and voter registration. Finally, if you need more details about area governments, check out the Contact Elected Officials page of this website.

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FEBRUARY: From Houseless to Housing

The Pines, affordable housing in SE Portland -Photo by Human Solutions

Our February Civic Education event features speakers on how to address homelessness in the Portland area. Starting on February 12, you can view the recorded  panel discussion, From Houseless to Housing and Services, from our YouTube Channel. Or click here to view the recording of this compelling panel discussion.

About the invited panelists :
  • Marc Jolin, Executive Director of the Multnomah County Joint Office of Homeless Services. He leads an initiative, “A Home for Everyone,” which involves officials from Multnomah County, the City of Portland, the City of Gresham, business leaders, social services and other service groups that collaborate on finding new resources and strategies to end homelessness.
  • Andy Miller, Executive Director of Human Solutions, which builds, operates and supports families in permanent affordable housing. Before he joined Human Solutions in 2015, Miller was the Chief Operating Officer at Volunteers of America Oregon. Previously, he spent 13 years with the Portland Housing Bureau.
  • Jeff D. Riddle, Administrative Support Manager at Transition Projects.Transition Projects manages shelters and offers programs and resources to individuals through services including case workers, healthcare, mentorship, and housing. Jeff has served as a mentor, street outreach engagement specialist, residential advocate, client service specialist, case manager, shelter manager, and income development program manager. In 2018, he received the Beverly “Ma” Curtis Award, given to a formerly homeless person who has made a significant contribution to ending homelessness.
  • Rachel Solotaroff, MD, CEO and President of Central City Concern. Dr. Solotaroff, has worked with Central City Concern (CCC) since 2006. She became CCC’s Chief Medical Officer in 2014. During her time there, she has overseen alcohol and drug treatment, primary care and mental health care. CCC provides services to help people find housing and achieve self-sufficiency.

(Dr. Solotaroff was unable to participate, because of a last-minute unexpected complication. We hope to include her in a future event.)

Doreen Binder, League member and former Executive Director of Transition Projects, will moderate the program. For over 50 years, Transition Projects has helped people transition from homelessness and living on the streets to housing in Portland. It manages shelters and offers programs and resources to individuals through access to services including case workers, healthcare, mentorship and housing.

This panel discussion will focus on what is being done, as well as what is still needed, to serve homeless individuals and families.

MetroEast logoMetroEast Community Media will record the program for streaming from this website and for later broadcast on Comcast and Frontier public access cable channels.  Funding for the recording was provided by the Carol & Velma Saling Foundation.

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Participation, not violence

Portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 1964. Nobel Foundation, via Wikimedia Commons

“Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.”   Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As we honor the 92nd anniversary of the birth of civil rights hero, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we are reminded of his policy of nonviolent protest. The League’s mission is to promote public participation in government—nonviolently.

We know that sometimes the changes we seek require constant advocacy over time and even may take years to accomplish. However, we also know that nonviolent advocacy is more effective and long-lasting. League members talk with the elected officials who serve in our local, state and national governments. We testify at public hearings. We sometimes participate in peaceful demonstrations. And we write letters, social media posts, opinion articles and press releases to express our views.

The League always bases its advocacy on in-depth studies of the issues—on the facts, the evidence and member agreement on each study’s findings. We also make sure our advocacy conforms to our Principles. Violence and destructive acts often turn public opinion against the stated goals of protesters. But carefully researched persuasion can gradually achieve better government policies and a more inclusive, just and equitable society.

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From our LWVPDX President

Seal of the US Congress

The year 2020 presented a remarkable quantity of huge challenges. Most recently, they included President Trump’s refusal to accept the verified results of the November election. His words and actions culminated in the January 6, 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol and demonstrations at the Oregon Capitol, too.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization. We believe in Empowering Voters and Defending Democracy. In supporting free and fair elections with information, we empower voters. In all of our work at the local, state and national levels, we defend democracy.

Our national leadership wrote: “The League condemns the attack for what it was: domestic terrorism” and issued the statement posted below on this website.

Despite the violent and frightening interruption to Congress’s mandated task of certifying the electors’ votes for president and vice president, our elected representatives returned to their constitutional duty, completing their task in the middle of the night. The rule of law prevailed. We thank them.

There will be many opinions about the consequences of those events, and many possible responses. We may feel fear, anger and deep concern for the future of our democracy. These worries, while very jarring, can also cause us to recognize the value of our democratic institutions and work even more diligently to protect them. The League has done this work for the last 100 years. We will persist in our mission, standing resolutely together with all who treasure democracy.

League of Women Voters of Portland President Debbie Kaye

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Election Debrief – Now What?

The LWV of Portland has debriefed the experts about this election’s meaning and impact. What do the results mean – locally, statewide and nationally?
photo credit -Multnomah County Elections

The League of Women Voters of Portland asked three experienced political analysts to discuss the 2020 election. Who voted?  What influenced the outcomes? What are the implications for our community and democracy. You can watch their recorded discussion on this website now.

View the recording of this program by clicking below:

The panelists are:

Barbara Dudley  – Senior fellow at Portland State University’s Center for Public Service. Barbara appears regularly on OPB’s Think Out Loud Friday News Roundtable. She is also a senior policy adviser for the Oregon Working Families Party. She formerly served as president/executive director, National Lawyers Guild; executive director, Greenpeace USA; and national AFL-CIO Assistant Director for Strategic Campaigns.

John Horvick – Director for Client Relations and Political Research at DHM Research, a nonpartisan and independent public opinion research firm. He regularly speaks on issues of community, policy, and governance to public officials and governing bodies and is a political analyst for OPB and Fox 12 News.

Priscilla Southwell – University of Oregon professor with expertise in U.S., European, and Oregon politics, elections, voting by mail, and political behavior. Previously, she headed the U of O Department of Political Science and served as the university’s Associate Dean of Social Sciences.

Moderator: James Ofsink. James  currently leads the LWVPDX Criminal Justice Interest Group and is a member of the Police Accountability Study Group. He is also serving a four-year term as a Tax Supervising and Conservation Commissioner, appointed by the governor.

MetroEast Community Media recorded the program for streaming from this website and for later broadcast on public access cable channels. 

Funding for the recording was provided by the Carol & Velma Saling Foundation.

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“Future of Healthcare” Video

Our Panel Discussion, recorded on September 15, features an outstanding panel of physicians. These health care experts share their views of how health care is changing because of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it needs to change. Click below to watch this very timely and important discussion.

You can read more about the speakers in our previous post: https://lwvpdx.org/the-future-of-healthcare/

This program was recorded by MetroEast Community Media. It is shown from time to time on Comcast cable channels 21, 29, 321, 329 and Frontier cable channels 37, 32. The Carol & Velma Saling Foundation provided funding for the recording.