The League of Women Voters of Portland is governed exclusively by a volunteer Board and volunteer committees. We often employ one part-time staff person to help in our office. However, we depend primarily on over 100 active volunteers to carry out our mission of empowering voters and defending democracy. We do this through education to promote informed and active participation in government and advocacy on selected governmental issues.
The nonpartisan LWV never supports or opposes candidates or parties. However, we are politically active on a wide variety of issues.
The League of Women Voters of Portland operates as both a nonpartisan nonprofit 501(c)(4) public service organization and as a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) educational organization.
As a public service 501(c)(4), the LW V of Portland may take stands on issues that are important to the well-being of our communities. We base these stands on advocacy positions, which are the result of intensive study, discussion of the pros and cons, and, eventually, member consensus, all at the grassroots level. We can use LWV advocacy positions to advocate on governmental issues at the national, state, and local levels. (On the other hand, publications like the LWV Voters’ Guide and our LWV studies are produced by our 501(c)(3) Education Fund and are strictly informative and impartial.)
As a 501(c)(4), we advocate for changes in governmental policies for the benefit of the people of Portland, Multnomah County and the Metro region. Our advocacy work includes testimony and public statements on a broad range of issues, including:
- affordable housing and homeless services
- air and water quality
- city, county and Metro government structure, planning and services
- climate change and fossil fuel infrastructure
- criminal justice, public safety and Portland Police Bureau accountability
- election issues
- public education
- land-use planning
- transparency and access to information
Funding for the League of Women Voters of Portland also supports services for our members.
The League of Women Voters of Portland Education Fund is our 501(c)(3) educational organization. Through the Education Fund, we help people in Multnomah County and Oregon thoughtfully engage in the democratic process. This includes providing nonpartisan information about elections and the voting process. In addition, our Education Fund supports our balanced studies of issues, our community education (formerly called civic education) programs and other educational events that are open to the public.