Interest Groups are groups of members who get together to learn more about a particular topic of concern. The topic may already be part of the League’s portfolio. However, it also may in an area of interest that could lead to a new study or review. Interest Groups must be approved by the LWVPDX Board, in order to do their work in the name of the League. The primary purpose is learning together. These groups are more informal than League study committees. Currently, the League has interest groups on Education, Housing, and Justice. With board approval, Interest Groups may work with the Action Committee to propose topics for advocacy. Interest Groups report regularly to the LWVPDX Board and membership about their activities.
Current LWV of Portland Interest Groups
Education Interest Group: This interest group has started up again after a pause during the pandemic. In the past, the group visited schools and interviewed school administrators. They also organized a program on Innovations in Education for a LWVPDX public Community Education event.
This year, the group is learning about the state legislature’s education bills and the implementation of the new Oregon law on civics education. They are discussing organizing Community Education events about topics such as OSU’s program for PPS students at the Concordia U. campus and how PPS measures academic success and assesses student mental health. They want to have a part in helping with questions for school board candidates in the May 2023 election.
Housing Interest Group: The Housing Interest Group has been listening to speakers about increasing the availability of affordable housing in Portland. They also are considering possible solutions to homelessness.
At a recent 2023 meeting, Marc Jolin spoke about his life-long work to reduce homelessness. Marc resigned recently as head of the Portland Joint Office of Homeless Services.
Justice Interest Group: The Justice Interest Group previously worked with the LWV of Oregon Action Committee to advocate for improvements in juvenile justice. The group proposed the recent study of Portland Police Bureau: Oversight and Accountability. Some members of the group were members of the study committee. Now, this Interest Group is working with the LWVPDX Action Committee. Using our new advocacy position, they propose testimony about improving public safety and police interactions with the community.
At a recent meeting, the Justice Interest Group heard from Mike Myers, the City of Portland’s first community safety transition director. Mila Mimica, communication aide, also attended this meeting. Mike has been working alongside Council offices, community leaders, Portland Fire & Rescue, the Portland Police Bureau, the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management, and the Bureau of Emergency Communications to co-create a community safety strategic plan.