Joel Barker

Announcing the May 9 Central Committee Meeting

We cordially invite you to this month’s meeting of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Multnomah County.

The meeting will take place:

Thursday, May 9

Hollywood Senior Center

1820 NE 40th Avenue, Portland 97212


Our schedule is as follows:

6:00 PM Doors open.  

6:30 PM Registration and Sign In

7:00 PM Business Meeting begins

9:00 PM Scheduled end of Business Meeting

We will be voting on the following resolutions

Resolution Addressing Cover Letters

Social Media Guidelines

Cultural Change in the Oregon Legislature

Domestic Terror

Rules Committee has the following rule changes to present

Candidate Accountability

Standing Committees and Committee Membership

We will be voting to appoint persons to vacant PCP positions. A list of persons eligible for appointment may be found here.

Thank you for everything you do.  


Lurelle Robbins, Chair

Multnomah County Democratic Party

You may find the minutes for this meeting here.

Multnomah Democrats Pass Resolution Calling for Peter Courtney to Step Down as Senate President

At the Central Committee Meeting on April 11, 2019, the Multnomah County Democrats passed Resolution 2019-13, Regarding Leadership and Ineffective Handling of Sexual Harassment Complaints in the Oregon Legislature.

Download the full resolution as a PDF

Multnomah County Democratic Central Committee 

Resolution: 2019-13  

Regarding Leadership and Ineffective Handling of Sexual Harassment Complaints in the Oregon Legislature 

WHEREAS, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) is the agency tasked with protecting employment rights and public accommodation against discrimination, and the Labor Commissioner is the elected official who manages BOLI.(1) 

WHEREAS, Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian filed a complaint with BOLI on August 1, 2018 against the Oregon Legislative Assembly and Legislative Administration Committee as employers for allowing sexual harassment in the state legislature which has created a hostile work environment; (2) 

WHEREAS, Senators Sara Gelser and Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward reported unwelcome sexual conduct and inappropriate touching by Senator Jeff Kruse as early as March 2016; (3) 

WHEREAS, Kruse resigned in March 2018 when an outside investigation concluded at least 15 women, including student interns, were sexually harassed by Senator Kruse; (4) 

WHEREAS, Avakian produced a 52-page investigative report that includes “substantial evidence” of numerous instances of Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) failing to address sexual harassment in the Capitol; (5)(6) 

WHEREAS, In 2001, two women at Western Oregon University said Courtney, then the assistant president at WOU, failed to act when they complained. The university paid both women settlements and their lawyer identified many more victims; (7) 

WHEREAS: Courtney’s office manager, a woman, acknowledged dating a male member of the House of Representatives, she was offered the choice of resigning, being demoted or being fired; She was given that ultimatum even though dating a House member was allowed under legislative rules.(8) 

WHEREAS: When a female legislative staffer of Courtney’s office complained of unwanted attention from a male legislative staffer of Courtney’s office in May 2015, the male staffer kept his job; illustrating a clear discrepancy between treatment of male and female staffers. (8) 

WHEREAS: Courtney and others have systematically brushed sexual harassment complaints under the rug; (9) 

WHEREAS: Courtney has also sent a clear message to women in the Capitol: If you speak up for yourself and other women in the building, as Sen. Sara Gelser has, you will be ostracized and shamed; (9) 

WHEREAS, the national #MeToo movement has brought attention to the pervasive issue of sexual assault and the struggle for survivors to be heard and believed; 

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: We support people reporting harassment and abuse, protection of their privacy while doing so, and thorough investigations of all reports.  

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: We condemn any efforts to silence people reporting sexual harassment, bullying or intimidation, or to inhibit or obscure their ability and understanding of available legal remedies. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: We call upon President Courtney to step down as President and allow the Senate Pro Tempore to lead the Senate.  

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: We call for an outside audit of current process used in the state legislature regarding sexual harassment and abuse, and the implementation of their recommendations. 

ADOPTED by the Democratic Party of Multnomah County on 11th day of April, 2019. 

Resolution submitted by: 

Ami Fox
John Adams
Michael Cojocaru
Sam Kahl
Ira Erbs
Dan Goetz
Lisa Wolf
Lisa Ortiz
James Davis
Leah Gibbs
Leigha LaFleur

Debby Schwartz
Pablo Martos
John Knight
Chris Lowe
Michelle Risher
Carissa Martos
Melisa Crosby
Julie DeGraw
Ethan Scarl
Julio Castilleja


To ask President Courtney to step down from position of Senate President and allow the Senate Pro Tempore to take his place.  Multnomah County democrats believes that there was willful disregard to repeated cases swept under the rug by current leadership. Multnomah County Democrats believes that men and women are equal and we stand with and believe women. 

Links to background information

1. (n.d.) Retrieved from

2. Selsky, A. (2018, September 01). Oregon legislators refute labor commissioner’s sexual harassment claims. Retrieved from

3. Associated Press. (n.d.). Governor: Oregon lawmaker accused of groping should resign. Retrieved from

4. Friedman, G. (2018, February 08). Kruse to resign after finding of groping, unwanted touching at Oregon Capitol. Retrieved from

5. Jaquiss, N., Jaquiss, N., About Nigel Jaquiss News, & Willamette Week. (n.d.). Labor Commissioner Issues Damning Final Report On Sexual Harassment in Oregon Capitol. Retrieved from

6. VanderHart, D., & Dake, L. (2019, January 06). Investigation: Sexual Harassment Made Oregon’s Capitol A Hostile Workplace. Retrieved from

7. Jaquiss, N., Jaquiss, N., About Nigel Jaquiss News, & Willamette Week. (n.d.). Peter Courtney’s Failure To Protect Women From Sexual Harassment Goes Back Decades. Retrieved from

8. Jaquiss, N., Jaquiss, N., About Nigel Jaquiss News, & Willamette Week. (n.d.). Senior Aide To Sen. President Peter Courtney Abruptly Resigns the Day Before Lawmakers Convene. Retrieved from

9. Columnist, G. (2019, March 02). Opinion: Sen. Steiner Hayward doesn’t speak for all Capital sexual harassment victims. Retrieved from

This Resolution will be sent to each of the officials named below, 

State Senators 

Senator Mark Hass 503-986-1714 

Senator Betsy Johnson (503) 543-4046 

Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (503) 986-1717 

Senator Ginny Burdick (503) 986-1700 

Senator Rob Wagner 503-986-1719 

Senator Kathleen Taylor  503-986-1721 

Senator Lew Frederick  503-986-1722 

Senator Michael Dembrow  503-986-1723 

Senator Shemia Fagan  503-986-1724 

Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson  503-986-1725 

Senator Chuck Thomsen (541) 490-4641 


Faith E Ruffing  

MultDems Call to Action: Clean Energy Jobs Bill Moment of Truth

We are so close to passage of the Clean Energy Jobs bill, but we need to continue to pressure our lawmakers to make the bill as strong as it can be! We are targeting the eight Democrats on the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction.

We need your help to ensure a highly effective bill passes out of the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction (JCCR) so that it can be voted on by the full Legislature.

Please send emails or messages to the following legislators on the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction. Create  individual messages addressed to each legislator. You can copy/paste all or part of the suggested language. Add your own language and personal experience.

Note that you are writing them as a citizen of Oregon. As members of the JCCR, they are charged with doing the right thing for all of Oregon.

Please do not use the CC email function as legislators dislike being copied along with multiple offices.

Senator Michael Dembrow, email

Senator Kathleen Taylor, email

Senator Jeff Golden, email

Senator Lee Beyer, email

Representative Karin Power, email

Representative Ken Helm, email

Representative Pam  Marsh, email

Representative John Lively, email

Suggested Language

Encourage these legislators by noting that Oregon has the opportunity to once again be a national leader as it once was on environmental issues like the Beach Bill and Bottle Bill and that HB 2020 can serve as a model for other states. Let them know that this legislation has the potential to be a legacy they will be proud of many years from now.

Ask them to pass the strongest possible climate legislation that addresses three essential needs and ensures that that bill:

  • Has a quickly declining cap and that we want that cap to lead to zero emissions in 2050,
  • Makes polluters pay – all major polluters need to be under the cap – no exemptions, and
  • Funds a just transition and ensures funds are targeted to those most impacted by climate change.

Urge these legislators to pass HB 2020 along with the 31 amendments. Let them know that you especially appreciate that HB 2020 now:

  • Includes 40% allocation for impacted communities
  • Keeps Covanta as a regulated entity,
  • Keeps semiconductor F gases subject to the cap,
  • Ensures that offsets must be real, permanent, quantifiable, verifiable, enforceable and additional,
  • Has a specific allocation for the Just Transition Fund to help workers, and
  • Retains the emergency clause so that the Oregon Climate Action Program will be in place immediately.

Ask them to not let this vital piece of legislation to be watered down and to resist the efforts of some of their colleagues to delay, mislead or confuse. Summarize by thanking them for their hard work and suggesting that passing this critical legislation by Earth Day would be a wonderful gift for Oregon and the planet.

In regards to social media and the Democratic Primary for President

Today, a seasoned volunteer posted to the Multnomah Democrat’s Facebook page a quote from one of our Multnomah County precinct committee persons and a link to an article about Senator Elizabeth Warren’s position on childcare. As you probably know, Senator Warren is vieing for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.

I deleted it from our feed.

It is not that the article was not well written and compelling, worthy of discussion. It is not that Elizabeth Warren merits censorship. It is not that I or any member of the party favors another candidate. I deleted the post in the service of being a responsible officer of the party in the complex world of social media.

I am extremely proud of our lively MultDems social media presence, particularly Facebook. I inherited it from the groundbreaking work of my predecessor and have every intention of keeping it going.

Our volunteers put hours every week into posting and interacting with other users. The result is vibrant and authentic connections to fellow Democrats.

When a legislative action connects to our platform, we use Facebook to get the word out to our activists and constituents. I am very happy that I am frequently told that the Multnomah Democrats Facebook feed is informative and community-building. I want it to be a place where people gather. A place that inspires the actions we can do together to change our communities and our world.

And then there is the upcoming Democratic primary election. What is a local party — and its social media presence — to do when multiple candidates are vying for the top spot on our ticket?

The Multnomah Democrats strive for transparency and accountability. That is why I am writing this post. The truth is that a perfectly clear response to this important moment is not easy. I want us to collectively find a way to use social media for its best purposes. I want it to bring us together in conversation. I want it to provide information and visibility to the topics that energize us.

As we all know, social media can create divides and falsely separate us — particularly around political topics. It happened before, and it is already happening again.

Social media thrives on heated conversation. It benefits those who count on us dehumanizing each other on topics ranging from immigration rights to who should play James Bond to 90s college rock bands. Done wrong, it is an unhealthy multiplier of a person’s passion. If you dig back in my Twitter or Facebook feed you will see that I have been there myself.

In my view, the platforms are so new that pretending there are norms or best practices is misleading. We are learning together how to relate with each other in these new ways.

As an officer of the party, I am honored and happy to serve in a role that helps us coalesce our collective energy around the eventual nominee. I very much believe that the party is ready to make the best use of the primary system, producing a candidate we can all work with and defeat Donald Trump in 2020. That is the most important thing. I believe that winning in 2020 won’t be easy. It is not gauranteed. That is why I work for every day to strengthen the capacity of the Democratic Party.

That is my (completely unpaid, second) job and I am honored to have it at this moment.

Excerpt from the Democratic Party of Multnomah County Bylaws

Article XIICandidate Support and Ballot Measure Endorsements

Section 1 Candidate Support

A. Democrats who win their Primary in a partisan election are the Democratic Party nominees and will appear on literature listing Democratic nominees, such as a Multnomah Democrats slate card.

B. No endorsements of any candidates will be made by the Multnomah County Democratic Party.

C. Democratic candidates in both partisan and non-partisan elections who have no Democratic opponent may receive support from the county party, such as financial contributions, campaign literature, and recruitment and organizing of campaign volunteers.

D. Support will be proposed by the Executive Committee and presented to the Central Committee for ratification.

E. PCPs [Precinct Committee Persons] who support a Democratic candidate may use Party facilities for campaign work for that candidate.

F. Candidates in partisan and non-partisan elections who align with the Party’s Platform and Resolutions may receive public recognition of their positions, which may be assessed through Candidate Forums, questionnaires and interviews.

I, and all of my fellow officers, happily comply to the bylaws and platform of our party. That is what we signed up for.

As a county party, we will develop clearer policies going forward for how our social media talks about these candidates. It requires some consideration; the candidate are great thinkers of our party and clearly historic figures. Entirely ignoring them seems odd.

However, posting about any candidate and excluding any others immediately draws the question of favoritism. The post that prompted me to write this article was up for about an hour and readers had already asked whether we were going to provide equal time for every Democratic presidential candidate. That would drown out the conversations of National Popular Vote, health care, Green Jobs, and fully funded education that matter so much to our consituents and our nation.

I did not feel good about taking down that post today, but I would have felt worse about leaving it up. I ask you to join me in sober consideration of how social media should be a part of our Democratic process, starting today and moving forward.


Joel Barker
Communications Officer
Multnomah County Democratic Party
Elected January 2019

Proposed Rule Changes: March 2019 Central Committee

The Rules committee is proposing the following rules changes for the March 2019 Central Committee:

AMENDMENT LOCATION: _________Article VII Section 2 § B________

AUTHOR: _____________Rule Committee________


Article VIISection 2…B. Standing committees other than the Credentials Committee will have aminimum of nine PCP members who may be appointed by:


Article VIISection 2…B. Standing committees other than the Credentials Committee will have aminimum of five members who may be appointed by:

AMENDMENT LOCATION: _____Article VII Section 2 § F_____________

AUTHOR: ____________Rules Committee______________


Article VII…Section 2…F.The duration of each committee member’s appointment shall be two years.No person shall serve as a member of a committee beyond this timewithout being re-appointed.

New Language

Article VII…Section 2…F.Committee members, including the Committee Chair, are appointed to a term of up to two years which expires 30 days after the next District or Party Organizational meeting, depending on the person who appointed them. Committee members including the committee chair may be removed at the pleasure of the person in the position that appointed them.

Shape the Future: Join the Multnomah Democrats Platform Committee

Are you interested in working on elections integrity, immigration, environmental issues, the economy, or justice issues? The Multnomah Democrats Platform, Resolutions, and Legislation Committee has study groups actively working on issues who could use your help! The outcome will be resolutions and the new party platform, which guides our work for the coming years.

If interested, please send an email to with your contact information and which of the following groups you would like to join:

  • Basic Needs
  • Education
  • Economy
  • Social Security and Health
  • Environment, Energy, and Transportation
  • Election Integrity and Legislative Accountability
  • Equality
  • Justice
  • Immigration
  • Labor

Help Make the Clean Energy Jobs Bill Better!

An urgent message from Catherine Thomasson, Multnomah Democrats Climate Action Team member

Our lobbying efforts made HB 2020-Clean Energy Jobs Bill better. Exemptions were removed for Covanta and silicon chip manufacturers. There is now more oversight on investments but we need a stronger bill!

Photo by Sam Jotham Sutharson on Unsplash

The bill creates a cap on carbon emissions that decreases over time. It does so by giving or requiring high emitters to buy allowances (or permits) to emit each ton of carbon up to the level of the cap for their industry. However, there are too many allowances given out for free.
The methane fossil fuel utilities are being given 30% of their allowances for free until 2030 and there is talk of giving them more. Additional free allowances must not be allowed.

The income from the allowances pays for programs to develop a low carbon economy such as: renewable energy job training, low income housing energy efficiency improvements and investment in agriculture practices to reduce fertilizer use (another greenhouse gas source).

To further improve the bill, we call for limits on the banking of allowances. By banking allowances to use in the future, companies could game the system and the cap would not be effective. Call for a three-year expiration of banked allowances, limits to the banking of free allowances and limits the number of banked allowances that may be used in each biennium.

Call your legislators today to say: No more free allowances for methane fossil fuel providers and reform the banking of allowances.

Take Action by Friday!

The work session is Friday April 5 at 1pm. Don’t tarry. This is your chance.

  • Call your own state Representative and state Senator and tell them what matters to you on HB2020: We ask for limits on banking allowances and no more allowances for methane fossil fuel providers
  • Call the chairs of the Carbon Reduction Joint Committee Senator Michael Dembrow (503-986-1723) and Representative Karin Power (503-986-1441)
  • Speak out and share on social media!

MultDems Call to Action: End Pay to Play, support SB 18 and SB 19


This year the governor, and state legislatures have made a commitment to tackle changing our state constitution so we as Oregonians can limit campaign contributions. Let’s get it done this session. Call your state representatives and senators and tell them it is time to end pay to play in this state. We want to know where the money is coming from and put caps like 40 other states have. We are among the 10 who have UNLIMITED contributions.

Take action

Contact your elected officials!

State: Contact your state legislatures and ask them to support SB 18 and SB 19


Lawmakers from both parties have proposed wide-ranging reforms that could transform the way election campaigns are conducted in Oregon.

There are more than a few obstacles to overcome along the way, though. The most significant might be the state Constitution itself.

In Oregon, campaign finance reform requires more than changing state law. That’s because of legal precedent set by the Oregon Supreme Court in 1997, when justices struck down limits on campaign contributions as violating Oregon’s constitutional right to free speech.

A trio of Democratic state representatives has proposed a constitutional amendment that would allow state and local governments to regulate campaign spending by limiting contributions to political campaigns and mandating that advertisements and campaign materials name who paid for them.

In the Senate, Beaverton Democrat Mark Hass and Bend Republican Tim Knopp have proposed Senate Joint Resolution 18, a similar constitutional amendment to what Rayfield and Reps. Alissa Keny-Guyer, D-Portland, and Pam Marsh, D-Ashland, have put forward in the House.

SB18 Proposes amendment to Oregon Constitution specifying that Legislative Assembly, or people through initiative process, may enact laws limiting or prohibiting certain contributions made to candidates for public office. and SB19, caps on contributions

Income taxes — personal and corporate — account for more than nine out of every 10 dollars that flow into Oregon’s General Fund budget, the principal way Oregon pays for services like education and other essential services. But it is the personal income tax, which individuals and families pay, that brings in the lion’s share of the public resources. In 2016, the personal income tax brought in about $7.6 billion. By contrast, the corporate income tax brought in $541 million, with the corporate minimum tax accounting for $54 million of that amount.

Related Articles:

MultDems Call to Action: Fully Fund Public Schools


We need revenue to fund our state and fund our schools. The 2018 Quality Education Model, released in August of 2018, estimates that Oregon would need to spend $10.7 billion for 2019-21 for a K-12 system that meets Oregon’s education goals, $2.5 billion more than the 2017-19 State School Fund. Not only does it fail to fully fund education, it would actually mean laying off 900 teachers or cutting four days from the already short school year.

Take action!

Related Articles

Preamble to Article II of the MultDems Platform: Education

We believe all Multnomah County schools should provide equitable, stable and sustainable public funding that will provide all students with a high-quality education and curriculum from pre-kindergarten through high school and career training.  We acknowledge that quality public education for all students not only enriches personal lives, but strengthens our economy and is critical to a well-functioning democracy.

MultDems Call to Action: Health Care for ALL SB 770 in Oregon and HR 1384 Federal


4 years ago the idea of single payer was a remote possibility. Today we are gaining momentum at both the state and federal level. Let’s make this dream a reality.

Take action:

Contact your elected officials!

State: Contact your state legislatures and ask them to support SB 770

Come to Lobby Day Monday, April 1, 2019, 9:00-4:00

These legislators are signed on as sponsors. Please thank them; if your senator and representative has not signed on yet, please contact them now.  

Senate Bill 770 Chief Sponsors: Senator Manning Jr, Dembrow, Beyer, Representative Fahey, Keny-Guyer, Salinas, Williamson    

Sponsors: Senator Burdick, Fagan, Frederick, Golden, Prozanski, Riley, Taylor, Wagner, Representative Alonso Leon, Bynum, Doherty, Gomberg, Gorsek, Helm, Hernandez, Holvey, Marsh, McLain, Meek, Mitchell, Neron, Nosse, Piluso, Power, Prusak, Rayfield, Reardon, Sanchez, Schouten, Smith Warner, Wilde, Witt

Federal: Contact your federal representatives and senator ask to support the Medicare for All HR 1384, background and call scripts.



A common misconception is that, while expensive, US health care is the best in the world. That’s simply not true:

  • US ranks 23rd in longevity
    • Folks in Spain and Italy live 4.5 years longer than people in the US, Israel 3.5 years longer.
  • Infant mortality
    • US ranks 30th in neonatal and infant mortality out of the 35 OECD countries
    • US newborns are 4 times more likely to die in their first month as newborns from Iceland or Japan, and twice as likely to die as those from Slovenia, Estonia and Czech Republic.
  • Maternal mortality
    • US ranks 30th in maternal mortality
    • US mothers are over 4 times more likely to die from pregnancy and delivery as mothers in Poland, Greece and Czech Republic.
  • Non-communicable diseases (cancer, heart disease, etc)
    • US ranks 28th in premature mortality
    • Americans aged 15 to 60 are twice as likely to die from non-communicable diseases as are citizens of Spain.


Check out these Movies and Videos to learn why single payer is the solution.

  • Better care, for more people, for less money
  • Freedom from worry about your family’s care
  • Freedom from the complexities of health insurance


And to get these inferior outcomes, the US spends 5 times as much per person as Estonia, 4 times Greece and Czech Republic, and twice as much as Iceland and Japan.


A community thrives on public spaces. While Portlanders clearly enjoy their outdoor spaces for recreation, the indoor spaces are equally important, particularly for families and seniors. Community centers like Woodstock, Sellwood, Hillside, Fulton, and even the Laurelhurst Dance Studio fully represent the mission of Portland Parks and Recreation to “help Portlanders play – providing the safe places, facilities, and programs which promote physical, mental, and social activity,” and they should be maintained as such.

Learn More: