HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY, LWV!

Our 100th Birthday is on February 14. We are celebrating a century of empowering voters and defending democracy! We are 100 years strong. 

In 1920, after 72 years of struggling to gain the right to vote, American women knew the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would soon be ratified. Almost 2,000 women from around the country gathered at a “victory convention” of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. 

On February 14, 1920, they voted to organize the National League of Women Voters. Then, they decided that the state groups in the NAWSA should  become nonpartisan state Leagues of Women Voters. Every League would have the same purposes as the national League – “to foster education in citizenship and support improved legislation.”

Thus, the League of Women Voters of Oregon also was founded on February 14, 1920.   Effie Simmons from Portland, Oregon, was elected to be on the first National LWV Board. (Source: More Power Than We Knew, A History of the League of Women Voters of Oregon:1920-2012, pages 15-16)

We are celebrating some other significant anniversaries this month too. February 14th is also the 161st anniversary of the day Oregon became a state. February 3rd was the 150th anniversary of the adoption of the 15th Amendment, stating that the right to vote shall not be denied on account of race. The League is still working throughout the U.S. to protect the right of all citizens to vote.

We have created a 5-minute video about the League’s history and how we are using our strengths as we prepare for the future. View the video by clicking the play arrow below:

League of Women Voters – 100 Years Strong from MetroEast Community Media on Vimeo.

Ideas for Better Schools!

Watch the Highlights from our program on “Education Innovations”

Click below to see a 20-minute video that shows the best parts of our “Innovations in Public Education” panel discussion. Experts from Metro-area schools talk about new ideas for improving education. Watch and hear what’s happening in our public schools to help all students learn and succeed!

How to Contact Elected Officials

Our NEWLY UPDATED directory of Elected Officials is an easy Guide

Do you have ideas or questions about voting or how your government is working for you? Here is a resource you can use. Just updated in January 2020, the League’s Directory of Elected Officials has information and ways to contact your government representatives. Everyone who represents you is included – from the President and US Congress, to City Councils, School Boards and Special District directors. If you contact them, they do pay attention! To download a copy, click here.

For more information, check these website pages:

Change Portland’s Government!

We have a new Position!

The Board of Directors of the Portland League has approved a new – and dramatically different – advocacy position on Portland’s City Government.

The position is the result of a thorough two-year study of Portland’s government, which led to the report shown at the left. After publishing this report, the study committee presented a panel discussion. Then, groups of League members discussed the findings and agreed upon key changes needed for Portland’s government.

The League’s new City Government position calls for major improvements in the government’s structure and also in the way voters elect the City Councilors. Here are some of our recommendations, which we will use during the City Charter Review process in 2021:

  • improve citizen representation by increasing the number of commissioners
  • institute a city manager
  • establish the City Council as a legislative or policy-setting body
  • elect some or all city councilors by district

You can read the entire new League position by clicking here.

During their two-year study, the study committee read more than 30 source documents. They also interviewed 15 government experts and city officials. Then they wrote their report, The City That Works: Preparing Portland for the Future. You can read the this report here. You may view the video of the panel discussion of Portland’s government here.

Thanks to City Council

When our government does something well, we thank them!

Promoting public involvement in government is part of our mission! In July, the League asked the Portland City Council get input from the public when they set priorities for the Portland Police Association Contract. The contract is being renewed in 2020. The Council responded by holding two community forums to learn about the public’s concerns. We are pleased and grateful that they have begun a process to inform and involve the public.

So we sent a follow-up letter thanking them. We also urged them to continue to engage the public. You can read our July letter here and our November letter of appreciation here.

We have also made some suggestions for improvements in the Portland Police Bureau’s new Community Engagement Plan. You can read our post about that here.