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.

Combatting Injustice

The death of George Floyd has focused attention on the injustice and discrimination African Americans face in our nation.

The LWVPDX, along with Leagues around the country, is speaking out against police brutality and racism. For more than 40 years, the Portland League has worked with other organizations to improve police accountability and oversight.  We are committed to ending the inappropriate use of deadly force by police. We are combatting injustice against African Americans in Portland and in the U.S.

Below is part of a May 29 press release from the LWVUS.

As an organization whose mission is to empower voters and defend democracy, we stand in solidarity with all Black communities. The League shall do so not only by speaking out against racism in all forms, but by doing the work required of us to be anti-racist.

You can read all of the press release here.

The League bases our advocacy on balanced studies, testimony, and peaceful demonstrations. In early May, our members voted to study Police Accountability in Portland.  This study will build on the work of our Justice Interest Group. Careful research provides the data that strengthens our voice as we work to protect the rights and lives of all Americans.


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.

Portland’s Government – An Analysis

Video of LWV Panel Discussion

Could Portland’s Government be more effective with a new structure?

Click below to watch the video of our panel discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of Portland’s form of government.

If you prefer to watch the video on your Tv, here is the cablecast schedule:

The Multnomah Bar Foundation and the Carol & Velma Saling Foundation donated funding for the recording by MetroEast Community media.

You can also read the study report here.


New Study of Portland’s Government!

Just Released: Restudy of City government

In September 2019, the League of Women Voters of Portland  completed our city government study, The City that Works: Preparing Portland for the Future.”

Portland League members voted to conduct this two-year restudy of city government in May 2017. Members realized that Portland’s voters needed more up-to-date and complete information to decide on possible changes to the City Charter.

The restudy looks closely at many parts of our current government. It examines strengths and weaknesses of the government’s structure and then explores different options for changing it. The goal is to provide useful ideas for how to improve the government so it serves the people of Portland as well as possible.

Read the study

You can read full text of the study report here.

View the panel Discussion

The video of a panel discussion about Portland’s government is now available here.

The panel included these speakers:

  • Mike Gleason, speaking on Why Do Cities Matter? What Does It Mean to Be a Successful City? Gleason served for 18 years as Eugene’s city manager.
  • Chris Tobkin, addressing the strengths of Portland’s commission form of government. Tobkin worked for Bud Clark during his two terms as Portland Mayor.
  • Julia DeGraw, looking at the weaknesses of the commission form, why it needs to change, and what should be changed.  DeGraw is an  activist and community organizer.
  • Betsy Pratt concluded the panel presentation with additional information on Portland’s government. Pratt was the chair of the League of Women Voters of Portland city government study committee.

The Multnomah Bar Foundation and the Carol & Velma Saling Foundation donated funding for the recording.

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