Portlanders: Share Public Testimony with the Charter Review Commission

Important topics for comments now

Do you think Portland should have a city manager? Should city commissioners be elected by districts? Does the Portland City Council need more members? Should the City Council be primarily a legislative body (and not also an administrative one)?

League members and the public are invited to share their thoughts with the Portland City Charter Review Commission. The commission has decided to focus their initial research on two topics. These may result in ballot measures in the November 2022 election, if they identify the need for change:

      • the city’s form of government;
      • the election methods used for selecting city councilors.

After the Portland League restudied our city government in 2017-19, we adopted our current 2020 LWVPDX position. This position features the two topics the commission selected (as well as several other topics). Here is an excerpt from our position:

“The highest priorities for change are to improve citizen representation by increasing the number of commissioners, to institute a city manager, and to establish the city council as a legislative or policy-setting body. We also support electing some or all city councilors by district.”

Transparency is important too

The issue of transparency in city government is also of concern to the League; we offered testimony about it to the Commission in June, and will follow up this topic next year when the Commission returns to study the issue.

How to share your ideas

The Commission accepts written public comment from Portlanders at any time, not only at meetings. Now is the time to share your support for changes in these two important areas! We encourage you to submit a public comment about why these two topics are important to you. If you are a League member, please remember that when you do so, you are testifying as a private individual and not as a representative of LWVPDX. If you agree with the League’s positions, you  may quote LWVPDX statements in your testimony as a private individual.  Of course you also may offer your own ideas or ideas from other organizations. (Learn more about League testimony guidelines here.)

Three steps to speaking out at this important moment:

  1. Read some background about the Commission’s two subcommittees on Form of Government and City Council Elections.
  2. Refresh your memory of the LWVPDX position on local government.
  3. Share your public comments. (When you send your comments, please thank the commissioners for their service. They are volunteers.)
More about the Charter Review Commission

In July 2021, the League posted an explanation about the work of the Charter Review Commission. You can read that here.

Thanks for taking action!

Pesticides: Balancing Benefits & Risks

Announcing a new LWV of Oregon Study and LWV of Portland Video on Pesticides

Cover of the LWVOR 2021 Study Report on Pesticide Use in Oregon

What are the best ways to control pests, while also protecting our environment and people’s health? To address these issues, the League of Women Voters of Oregon has published a study report on improving the safe use of pesticides in Oregon. You can read the full study report at the LWVOR.org website.

To supplement the study, the Portland League has recorded a panel discussion on what Oregonians should know about pesticides. The video recording of this presentation may be viewed by clicking on the arrow below.

The distinguished panel in the video presentation includes:

    • Amelia Nestler, PhD, Chair of the League Study and Senior Scientist at Northwest Green Chemistry
    • Kevin Masterson, Toxics Coordinator, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
    • Lisa Arkin, Executive Director, Beyond Toxics
    • Andrea Sonnen, Enforcement Case Reviewer, Interim Pesticides Lead Investigator, Oregon Department of Agriculture – Pesticides Program
    • Stephanie Page, Director, Natural Resources Program Area, Oregon Department of Agriculture (participating for the Q & A)
    • Moderator,Paula Grisafi, Co-Chair of study.

The study identified five key areas of pesticide policy to be considered, with recommendations for action.  These include   1) Education, Training and Labeling, 2) Transparency and Information Gathering, 3) Funding, Research, and Evaluation, 4) Adaptive Management and Integrated Pest Management, and 5) Burden of Proof and the Precautionary Principle.

During the fall of 2021, local Leagues throughout Oregon discussed the study and video.  The goal is to find consensus on how the League should support or oppose policies that will affect the use of pesticides and biocides in the future.

MetroEast Community Media records Portland League programs for rebroadcast and online streaming from lwvpdx.org . Funding is provided by the Carol & Velma Saling Foundation.

To find recordings of previous LWVPDX panels on community issues, click here.

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.

Holiday Greetings

All year long, the Portland League works to create “a more perfect democracy.” We invite you to share the spirit of the holiday season by giving to organizations, like ours, that are making a difference in the world for good. For 100 years, the League of Women Voters has defended democracy and empowered a community of engaged voters. Now, your Portland League is continuing this legacy into our second century!  Your gift  is a vote of support for all we do. THANK YOU!

Make a donation or buy a gift membership for an important voter in your life. Click on one of the “Donate” buttons in the right-hand sidebar or see other ways to support us here

Support the League’s work to protect democracy, inform voters, conduct balanced studies of critical issues and improve government policies. With your support, LWVPDX will continue strong for the next 100 years, shaping a world where all people’s voices matter.

We are grateful to our members and donors. Thank you for supporting us.
Our best wishes for happy holidays and a bright New Year!

Valuing Diversity

You can read the LWV of the US Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy here. It begins, “LWV is an organization fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in principle and in practice.”  The League works to uphold people’s rights, regardless of their race, age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability or economic status.

When the League was founded 100 years ago, there were many barriers that prevented men and women of various groups from fully participating in democracy. Over the years since, the League of Women Voters has worked to improve and protect the rights of all Americans. We encourage all citizens to vote! We also help people speak out for their rights.

The League has many resources to help members and others understand the views and needs of diverse groups. League members also participate in discussion groups about diversity and equity.