Recent Testimony and Action

Letter about public involvement in the Portland Police Association contract negotiations

On July 30, 2019, the League of Women Voters of Portland sent a letter to the Portland City Council recommending that they involve the public in observing and commenting upon the 2020 contract negotiations with the Portland Police Association. The letter says in part:

In light of the nationwide increase in public interest around criminal justice issues and the scope of important public policy questions addressed specifically in the City’s contract with the Portland Police Association (PPA), we recommend a robust public engagement process leading into the 2020 negotiations. In contrast to the 2016 negotiations, when community members were brought into the process after important decisions had already been made, we urge you to ensure that the upcoming process involves the community so that their input will have an impact on the outcome.

You can read our entire letter here.

Letter about public involvement in decisions about Neighborhood Associations

On July 16, 2019, the League of Women Voters of Portland sent a letter to Office of Community and Civic Life Director Suk Rhee and City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly with recommendations for thorough public involvement in reviewing proposals for changing the City Code governing Neighborhood Asssociations. You can read our letter here. (LWV Code 3.96 committee 7-19)

Testimony to US District Court Judge on Portland Committee on Community-Engaged Policing

On June 6, 2019, LWV of Portland Action Chair, Debbie Aiona, testified in the US District Court hearing about the City of Portland’s compliance with the US Department of Justice Settlement Agreement on Portland police policies and practices. She said that the new Portland Committee on Community-Engaged Policing (PCCEP) is a “work in progress” with both successes and shortcomings. The “PCCEP has made progress, but much more needs to be done in order for it to fulfill the community’s expectations and the requirements of the Settlement Agreement.” You can read the League’s entire letter here. The Portland League has followed issues of police oversight for decades. Our advocates were pleased that US District Judge Michael H. Simon agreed with the League’s assessment that the PCCEP still needs more support for its work. As Maxine Bernstein reported for, “’I think it’s going in the right direction,’  the judge said, of the new community oversight group. ‘I’m not ready to conclude it’s adequate … until I see a record of positive performance.’’’

Memorandum on Community Involvement in Portland’s Procurement and Contracting Process

On May 28, 2019, the LWV of Portland sent a memorandum to the Portland City Council urging that the Council allow members of the public and community groups an opportunity to comment on the City’s procurement and contracting decisions, before the Council gives its final approval. You can read the memo here.

Oral LWV Comments on Open and Accountable Elections (OAE)

Open and Accountable Elections, passed by the Portland City Council in 2016, is approaching full implementation, as it will provide public matching funds for City races in 2020. It is a voluntary program that provides limited matching dollars in exchange for a candidate’s acceptance of contribution limits.

On May 22, 2019, League member Carol Cushman, representing LWV Portland and the coalition of organizations supporting the program, testified at City Council in support of several minor changes to the relevant City Code. She noted that the coalition and the Open and Accountable Elections Commission have been included in the discussions surrounding the changes.

Portland Harbor Superfund Site:  Explanation of Significant Differences

In a memorandum to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on December 20, 2018, the Portland League expressed concerns about an EPA proposal that would increase the allowable levels of Benzo(a)pyrene in Willamette River sediments.  You can read the memo here. A final decision is expected by the end of 2019.

OIR Group Sixth Report on Police Shootings

In a memorandum sent to the Portland City Council on February 5, 2019, the Portland League strongly urged adoption of recommendations from the OIR Group. The OIR Group is under contract with the Auditor’s office to conduct periodic retrospective analyses of police shootings and make recommendations. We asked the Police Review Board to follow up on the OIR Group recommendations for better training on tactical decisions that could reduce the use of deadly force. We also advocated for 1) allowing survivors or families of victims to request Citizen Review Committee reviews of their cases, 2) interviewing officers involved in shootings before the end of their shifts, and 3) giving shooting victims prompt medical attention. Read the memo here.

City of Portland Membership in the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF)

On February 13, 2019, the Portland League was one of many citizen groups that urged the City to withdraw from the JTTF.  The City Council voted in favor (3 – 2) of ending its membership in the JTTF.  Here is the League’s testimony.