Announcements

Save the date: Celsi is March 21st

Nominations for Dick Celsi, Governor Barbara Roberts Young Democrat and Bill and Gladys McCoy Awards Are Now Open!

Celsi Celebration – March 21, 2020

Get your nominations in by January 21

The 2020 Democratic Party of Multnomah County Dick Celsi Fundraising Event will be held March 21, 2020.  Three individuals will be recognized for their service and commitment to the Party.

Nominations for the Dick Celsi Award, the Bill and Gladys McCoy Award, and the Governor Barbara Roberts Young Democrat Award are now open. You may offer nominations by using this link to our nomination form. Nominations are due by midnight the night of January 21,2020.

The Dick Celsi Award

Dick Celsi – “Celsi” as his friends called him – served as Chair of the Multnomah County Democrats during the 1970s and Chair of the State Democratic Party during the 1980s and into the 1990s. A Democratic Socialist, he was a strong voice for the poor, homeless, and those without means.

In honor of Dick Celsi, a Precinct Committee Person (PCP) who emulates Dick Celsi’s dedication to the Party and to grassroots activism will be selected to receive the Dick Celsi Award. To be eligible for this award, the PCP must not have previously received it, must not be a State or County Democratic Party Officer, and must not have been an officer of the Multnomah County Democrats within the last six months. 

Governor Barbara Roberts Young Democrat Award

Barbara Roberts served as the 34th Governor of Oregon from 1991 to 1995. She was the first woman to serve as Oregon Governor, and was also the first woman to serve as Majority Leader in the Oregon House of Representatives. She also served as Secretary of State for two terms, and, most recently, as a member of the Metro Council from 2011 to 2013. 

In her honor, the Governor Barbara Roberts Young Democrat Award is presented to a young Democrat who has significantly contributed as a volunteer for our organization. To be eligible for this award, the recipient shall be no older than 37 as of January 1, 2020.

Bill and Gladys McCoy Award

Bill McCoy in 1972 became the first African-American elected to the Oregon State Legislature. His wife Gladys became the first African-American member of the Portland School Board in 1970, and then the first African-American Multnomah County Commissioner in 1979.

In their honor, the Bill and Gladys McCoy Award recognizes a present or past-elected official who resides in Multnomah County and who has provided significant service and support to the Party.
We thank everyone of our volunteers and we thank you for helping to choose the award recipients. Please use this form to submit your nominations.

Portland Mayoral Forum January 21st. Image of Portland from above.

Multnomah Democrats, BerniePDX, and East County Rising Co-sponsor Portland Mayoral Debate

Join the Multnomah County Democrats, BerniePDX, and East County Rising for our 2020 Portland Mayoral Forum: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 6:30-8:30pm at Sunnyside Community House, 3520 SE Yamhill St.

Facebook Event

In the race for Portland’s highest office, residents want to know what candidates will do to address widening income inequality, lack of affordable housing and increasing houselessness, and whether mayoral hopefuls will use the newly-adopted public campaign finance system.

Attendees to the free event will hear the candidates stand on police contract negotiations, transportation, combating climate change, and more. Questions from the audience will be a part of the program

The Multnomah Democrats, East County Rising, and BerniePDX value the opportunity to host this forum.

The following candidates have confirmed that they will attend:

Willie Banks, Ozzie Gonzalez, Sarah Iannarone, Teressa Raiford

Multnomah Democrats Chair Statement on House District 36 Election

In order to bring forward nominations to replace Representative Jennifer Williamson as State House Representative for District 36, the elected and appointed precinct committee persons (PCPs) of that district will hold a convention at Portland State University Smith Memorial Ballroom, starting at 10am January 12. The Democratic Party of Oregon, in partnership with Multnomah Democrats, are organizing the convention in accordance with state law and party bylaws. The PCPs of that district will vote to forward three, four, or five nominees to the Multnomah County Commissioners. The Commisioners will select one person from those nominees to serve the rest of the term.

Currently, several candidates are also declared and campaigning for the Democratic Primary to serve in that position. That primary vote will be held in May. Some of the candidates for the primary are also seeking nomination for the temporary appointment.

Lurelle Robbins, the chair of the Democratic Party of Multnomah County (Multnomah Democrats), released the following statement:

The Democratic Party of Multnomah County in conjunction with the Democratic Party of Oregon have convened a nomination convention for HD 36 on January 12th.

The precinct committee persons (PCP’s) for HD 36 that were elected in the 2018 May primary plus any additional PCP’s that have been appointed to fill any remaining vacancies since that time will be the voting body. They will be charged with making decisions on what names to forward to the County Commission for consideration.

Registered voters may become elected to these important PCP positions on the May 2020 ballot and may file with the Party or at the Multnomah County Elections Division.

If the Nominating Convention forwards three, four, or five names to the County Commission, they must select from the names submitted to them.

The PCP’s are entrusted with this important task; that of selecting the names to be submitted to the County Commission for appointment to fill the vacancy by Oregon State Law.

I encourage the PCP’s to take their duty and this responsibility seriously and to choose the best candidates. I served in that capacity at a nominating convention when Representative Bonamici was appointed to statewide office and again when she was appointed to fill the Congressional vacancy due to the resignation of David Woo. I also served in the nominating convention that resulted in the appointment of Senator Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward.

This process has served us well in our representative democracy of which the PCP’s are the representatives. I see no compelling reason for the PCP’s to not exercise their duty and right to choose the best candidates in their collective estimation to serve in the upcoming short session.

The voters of the district will be given the opportunity to select the candidate of their choice in the May 2020 primary.

Lurelle Robbins, Chair
Democratic Party of Multnomah County

Climate Action Forum #2

Forum Series: Comprehensive Climate Action

Series #2: January 8th

The Multdems Climate Action Team is convening a series of forums on comprehensive climate action. The second in our series is

The Role of Forests and Forest Management on Climate Change

Wednesday, January 8
Doors open at 6:30; Program 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Hollywood Senior Center
1820 NE 40th Ave.

Do you know the largest source of carbon emissions in Oregon? Clearcutting at 32%. Join us 7-9 pm January 8 to o understand the role of our forests as climate protectors providing a huge carbon sink versus producing wood products. Is there a middle ground? We’ll explore the barriers to solutions and what they may be.

Facebook event for the forum

Important Topic, Many Stakeholders

  • The impact of forest management on climate, water, environment, economics, and more
  • The barriers to changing forest management, including the threat of wildfires that is driving additional logging.
  • Solutions that are available!

Join our experts

John Talberth, PhD, Senior economist for the Center for Sustainable Economy
Chuck Willer, Executive Director of the Coast Range Association
Ralph Bloemers, Senior Staff Attorney of Crag Law Center
Sean Stevens, Executive Director of Oregon Wild

Co Sponsors

The event is sponsored by the MultDems Climate Action Team, Oregon Wild, Oregon League of Conservation Voters Metro Climate Action Team, Center for Sustainable Economy, and Coast Range Association

Let’s talk! Join us.

Download the flyer

The Multdems Climate Action Team’s charge is to educate, engage and activate Democrats to address the Climate Emergency. We are the action part of the Natural Resources Protection and Recovery workgroup (Article V in Multdems 2020 Platform). Contact CAT co-leads Debbie Gordon 503-318-6023 or Tracy Farwell tracy@better-energy-llc.com, or CAT member Pat DeLaquil 202-494-8836 in regards to this forum.

Proposed rule change for bringing resolutions to Central Committee

At the December 2019 meeting, Rules Committee chair Michael Burleson notified the PCPs in attendance at Central Committee of the proposed rule change that we will vote on at the January 9 Central Committee meeting.

New language is bold.

Bylaws Article 9

Section 2- Bringing a Resolution to the Central Committee for a vote

A. A Resolution may be proposed by the Platform, Resolution, Legislation Committee (PRLC) or by 5 PCPs.

B. Proponents of resolutions will include a substantive action plan in support of the resolution.

C. A Resolution proposed by PCPs will be submitted to the PRLC for assistance with formatting and for PRLC to review, make recommendations, and report on resolutions.

D. If the timing of a PRLC meeting does not coincide with the need to present the Resolution to the Central Committee before relevant legislation is considered, then the submission of the PCP Resolution can be made instead to the PRLC Chair, for assistance with formatting.

E. PCP proposers may present their resolutions to the Central Committee regardless of PRLC actions. PCPs must notify the Admin Committee and PRLC 10 days before the CC meeting if they wish to proceed without PRLC approval.

F. All proposed resolutions to be considered by the Central Committee must be posted on the Party website and a notice with a link to them sent to all PCPs via email at least 6 days prior to the meeting.

G. Resolutions submitted with proper notice are adopted by majority vote.

H. Without 6-days notice, a Resolution presented at a Central Committee meeting is adopted by a 4/5 vote.

I. Proposed amendments to the resolution must be presented to the Recording Secretary and the Chair in writing.

New item for Article XI–General Provisions, Section 7: Voting procedures

E. When documents, such as Resolutions and Bylaws Amendments, are presented to Central Committee for a vote, any Motions to Amend must be submitted in writing to the Recording Secretary.

December Debate Watch Party

Join us December 19 for the 6th Democratic Presidential Debate

Debate Season, Episode 6

Seven Candidates will be at the upcoming Democratic Presidential Debate, moderated by PBS and Politico.

RSVP Now

Multnomah County Democrats Community Action Committee has been holding full house watch parties, co-sponsored with other committees and Democratic groups. It is a vibrant place to witness history in the making.

There will be pizza and soft drinks. Feel free to bring your favorite debate-watching snacks to share.

Click here to RSVP

Multnomah County Democrats office, 3551 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland 97232 [Map]

Doors at 5pm

See you there!

Facebook event

For public transportation options to/from the event location, visit http://trimet.org/. The Multnomah County Democrats office is wheelchair accessible. If you have any access or functional needs that you feel may prevent you from joining us at this event or that, if they can be addressed, might make the event more accessible [and therefore more enjoyable] for you, please email action@multdems.org.

MultDems proudly launch the 2020 platform

Multnomah Democrats 2020 Platform includes historic focus on racial justice and abuse of power

“Across the country, throughout Oregon, and within the Democratic Party of Multnomah County, the demand for racial justice is clear. The time is now to bring the demand for racial justice to the surface and for us to take action. Our platform takes that guidance from our racial inclusivity work group leaders. We must all work together for change.”

Lurelle Robbins, Chair of the Democratic Party of Multnomah County

Read the 2020 MultDems Platform: multdems.org/platform

On November 23, 2019, Democrats of Multnomah County approved a new party platform with unprecedented anti-racist articles that are unique to parties anywhere in the nation.

After all the legislative action items had been approved, one more motion was made from the floor. The articles had been arranged in the order introduced. The most recent, Tribal Sovereignty and Historical and ongoing Anti-Blackness in Oregon, were at the end. Danelle Stevens requested revising the order, which was quickly done to honor these new articles. The proposed change passed unanimously. Throughout the room filled with paper, laptops, pizza boxes, and coffee cups, applause erupted.

You can count the number of county parties in the state of Oregon that establish a platform at all.  For the Democratic Party of Multnomah County, the platform convention is a part of an ongoing cycle of collective activism. Built from the efforts of study groups for hot button political issues, the platform speaks of topics and positions from engaged activists.

As with past platforms, the newly approved 2020 platform has articles on climate, infrastructure, labor issues, and justice — 14 articles in all this year as a focus on racial justice came to the fore. Three of the new articles have specific, groundbreaking planks and legislative action to address racism and its repercussions.

“As far as I know, these articles are unique to our party. I don’t believe that any other county or state party has articles on these topics,” said Faith Ruffing, chair of the Multnomah Democrats Platform Committee.

Tribal Sovereignty article possibly unique in the nation

The Portland Metropolitan area is the ninth-largest community of Indigenous people in the United States, with 380 tribal nations represented, including the nine with land in Oregon. Even the county name—“Multnomah”—comes from the Chinookan name for the Indigenous people of the area. Current residents are surrounded by Indigenous culture in both our history and present day, and yet tribal members remain extremely underrepresented in politics.

Multnomah Democrats, led by Ruth Jensen, dedicated an article specifically to improving recognition of tribal sovereignty and disparities that continue because it is not well understood and respected. The political relationship between indigenous tribal nations and the United States government is unique. They are neither a special interest group nor a subset of counties but territories whose relationship with the federal government is defined by formal treaties and trust responsibility to protect Indigenous nations.

Calling for compliance with existing treaties, equal access to justice, and an end to disparities in services, the Platform seeks to enhance self-determination as well as the bonds of culture and family for native people.

Historical and Ongoing Anti-Blackness in Oregon article takes on racist heritage with an eye for healing

Infamously, Oregon entered the Union in 1859 as a “whites-only” state. Through to contemporary times, local and state governments have been complicit in anti-black policies. A group of black Democrats from diverse backgrounds came together to write an article focused on a path forward for this state and nation, with support from other members of the Platform Committee.

Through “unique and faceted” policies, the platform seeks structural change to alleviate the damage to Black Oregonians resulting from Black exclusionary history. The Democratic party of Multnomah County proposes reparations, solutions to disproportionate incarceration, and greater parity in home loans and small business loans.

Inequitable opportunity remains stark. The largest bank in the state of Oregon (Umpqua Bank) gave one single Small Business Administration (SBA) loan to a black owned business in the last ten years. Meanwhile, mega bank Wells Fargo provided less than 3 loans on average per year for the last 10 years.

Abuse of Power article

In addition to these articles focusing on particular groups of Americans, the 2020 Multnomah Democrats platform includes another new article addressing the dangers of abuse of power, particularly as it has ”the highest cost to those of us whose equal rights are still not recognized by all.”

“The new Abuse of Power article speaks to the violence, neglect, and disparities practiced under cover of institutional power. We see it as using racism to increase power, unjust incarceration, and harmful barriers to immigration. It addresses behaviors we see from Oregon to the current White House and will guide our ongoing fight for equity and accountability,” said Beth Woodward, a key author of the Abuse of Power article.

Racial inclusivity work within party raises awareness, drives change

In 2018, the Democratic Party of  Multnomah County chartered a Racial Inclusivity Workgroup (RIWG) to transform the party into a more inclusive group.

“We are learning how racism ranges from the subtle to the overt and we have made a commitment to investigate our own issues with race,” said Robbins. The RIWG organized workshops for party leadership, sponsored affinity groups, and developed a tool for identifying racial bias in policy documents such as the platform, the Racial Inclusivity Lens.

Co-chairs of RIWG, G.M. Garcia and Salomé Chimuku, and several workgroup members were active at the convention and contributed to guiding the direction of the platform. “It is time for this party to recognize racism and work together for justice. We can see that energy in this room,” said Garcia

Nature of platform

With a large, energetic volunteer base, the Multnomah Democrats maintain year-round policy and legislative action activity. All of that activity is organized around the platform. Each article is assigned to a study group of Democrats passionate about the topic. They also monitor legislation and other opportunities to influence policy.

Leading up to the platform convention every two years, the study groups draft updates of each article and solicit input from the Democratic voters of the county.

The culmination of the platform development process was the platform convention. In a day-long meeting, Multnomah County Democrats of all political stripes met face to face and drilled down into the specific wording of each legislative action item.

Jack Hanna, former treasurer and chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and now a Multnomah County resident, participated in the convention for the first time.

“Party Platforms just don’t exist there (Pennsylvania). I am impressed with the time, effort and deliberation needed to create one. I truly enjoyed the convention experience and thought it helped me and all those participating to examine and obtain consensus on the major issues confronting our communities. It’s exactly what our Party should be doing right now,” he said.

After all the legislative action items had been approved, one more motion was made from the floor. The articles had been arranged in the order introduced. The most recent, Tribal Sovereignty and Historical and ongoing Anti-Blackness in Oregon, were at the end. Danelle Stevens requested revising the order, which was quickly done to honor these new articles. The proposed change passed unanimously. Applause erupted throughout the room.

Next steps for the platform

“We think of the platform as the heartbeat of this party. All of our messaging, our lobbying, and our support of candidates is guided by it” said Robbins.

The next steps will be a survey of attendees and county Democrats to prioritize the legislative action items. It will then be delivered to Democratic office holders and will guide our lobbying efforts during the upcoming legislative sessions.

Read the 2020 MultDems Platform: multdems.org/platform

Bring warm, new socks to Central Committee Meeting for the MultDems Sock Drive

Contribute to our Sock Drive

The Mult Dems Community Action Committee is organizing our annual Sock Drive, beginning this month and through January.

Folks can bring pairs of new socks (in unopened, unwrapped bundles or packages) to the December 12th or January 9th Central Committee meetings, or drop off donations to the Mult Dems Office, 3551 NE Sandy Blvd, in the designated bin.

Thick and/or wool socks especially needed, as are socks for both women & men and in a variety of sizes, however any donation of socks (again new, in unopened/unwrapped packages) will be accepted. Donations will be distributed to area non-profits serving houseless and other individuals in need. For any questions, email action@multdems.org.

Seeking Office Manager. email volunteer@multdems.org

MultDems Seeking Organized Volunteer to Help Democrats Win

Are you the one that knows where everything is? Do you remember to order printer paper long before it runs out?

Are you motivated to be in the mix as the election season heats up?

The Multnomah Democrats are seeking a volunteer office manager. This role enables every single volunteer in our group and is forever in our hearts.

Is this you? Email volunteer@multdems.org.

Job Description

Multnomah County Democrats is run on an all-volunteer basis. The office manager orients, supervises and coordinates people to staff regular open hours. They will also help to supervise other volunteers who come in for as needed (infrequent) office activities such as data entry, mailings, and copying work. The goal is to have open hours three to four days a week for four hours or so.  As the elections of 2020 approach additional hours may be needed. The office staff does a variety of tasks including taking in mail, checking supplies and cleanliness in the room and bathrooms, and managing refuse. Committees and the volunteer coordinator will ask office staff (including the manager to help and supervise) to do tasks such as phoning, data entry and copying with adequate training.

The manager is responsible for cleaning the space using volunteers.  They advise the administrative team, particularly the Chair and Treasurer, to keep supplies and merchandise up to date and in order. They are one of three or four people responsible for answering email-relayed phone calls. Similarly they are responsible for scheduling the office for County Party meetings, events and other sanctioned group events and making sure the groups have someone to open the door for the meetings which can also be done by the volunteers staffing the office hours.

There is cross coverage with the Chair, Volunteer Coordinator and the rest of the elected officers to cover office hours. Notifying the admin team and suggesting improvements to the office space is a plus.

Skills

The person would be able to manage google calendar, monitor emails, and manage spreadsheets (training provided).  They will have good attention to detail. They honor confidentiality for use of databases. Preference for experience in managing an office. This person will enjoy working with volunteers and be flexible and understanding of the limitations of volunteers.

Hours

Hours are variable. The jobs requires being available by phone or email daily and in the office intermittently at times throughout the week. Expect to be on site four to 8 hours a week and volunteer on average 8-12 hours a week. There is cross-coverage by others for vacations or for specific days so good communication is essential.

If this is a role you would enjoy, join us and help stop Trump. Email volunteer@multdems.org

Michael Burleson, Rules Committee Chair

Michael Burleson, Chair of Rules Committee, sees role as leveling the field.

If you were fortunate enough to attend October 12th Comedy, Candidates, and Cocktail fundraiser, you heard Michael Burleson’s spot on impressions of George W Bush, Trump, and Bernie Sanders. He then took a moment to make his campaign pitch for Portland mayor. Besides running for mayor Michael is the new head of the MCD Rules Committee, which is why he is featured here.

Even at the tender age of five, Michael Burleson knew he believed in science, but he found himself the odd person out when after “a hokey presentation on how improbable it (evolution) was,” he was the only child left raising his hand attesting to the belief in evolution after someone said, “Wait, is evolution the one where we evolved from monkeys?” In suburban Texas, almost everyone was a conservative Republican.

That didn’t stop him from voting for Al Gore in his second grade mock election—a decision he is still proud of. “An Inconvenient Truth” taught him about climate change in 2005 when he was 12, contrary to those around him. “Basically, the gist is this; I’m a Democrat because the Republicans were and are anti-science.”

Michael Burleson is a relative newcomer to Portland, having come here for law school in 2016 after attending the Texas State Democratic Party convention in San Antonio. This is after he had convinced his parents to become state delegates for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, before Michael could vote. He became active in the party through his support of Bernie Sanders in 2015.

Michael’s first Multnomah Democratic event was probably in December, right after the 2016 election. It was a fellow Bernie delegate who suggested he get involved with the Rules Committee. Because it is the Rules Committee that creates the bylaws and standing rules for the organization and “if I wanted to “combat the institutional nepotism that keeps out brown, black, young, and working class folks from our party, this is where I needed to start.”

According to Michael, the Rules Chairman needs to have “a combination of parliamentary skills and the knowledge and strength of character to deal with systemic oppression.” In both of these areas, Michael feels competent. His understanding of parliamentary procedure started with high school debate and continued as he worked with the model United Nations in college. From his junior year in high school he also participated in Student Congress, where students learned how to pass bills and resolutions in a congressional setting. These experiences were so formative that he highly recommends them to young people.

Michael’s character has been forged through a number of experiences. First, his church, though backward about evolution, grew to be very social and racial justice conscious. He started organizing with them around issues like payday lending, and led a study group on school segregation while attending UT, Dallas. Throughout that time, the number of people whom he met who struggled to work several jobs and take care of school-aged kids troubled him. This led to a stint teaching at CitySquare AmeriCorps in Dallas, Texas, with a population that was largely low-income, minority, and/or refugees. He and his girlfriend, who was Pakistani and spoke three languages, taught a mock trial class together. But even with their combined skills, it was incredibly difficult to help students from around the world achieve the same reading comprehension as their peers. It was harder still to find kids whose parents cold pick them up at 3pm.

“My work at AmeriCorps, and in organizing, and later at the Innocence Project of Texas, still informs my dedication to racial and social justice. Specifically, I believe that our bylaws, even now, disenfranchise people of color and working people. A lack of time limits, seemingly endless meetings, and unwritten rules all plague us even now.“ Progress had been made. “the process for amending the bylaws and standing rules is now one month. We have a systematic program to put primary challengers on equal footing with incumbents through our candidate accountability program. We enacted STAR voting to further our voices. But there is more work to be done. I try to come to the position every day with the ides of doing what is right and not necessarily what is popular But, if I can, I try to make what is right a reality by constantly repeating the message of social and racial justice and elevating the voices of those in our party who are disenfranchised.”

When he’s not working on class action lawsuits for a local law firm while he waits to take the bar, Michael bikes, likes indoor rock climbing and would like to get back to karate. His ease with impressions comes from a few years of theater in middle school.

Aiming for Goals

Some of the goals Michael would like to accomplish are: 1) make the party chair a paid position at $15/hr to enable working people to be elected; 2)create firm time limits for central committee meetings; 3) limit the number of standing committee meetings before decisions are made on pending resolutions, bylaws, and other action items; 4) publish Robert’s Rules Cheat Sheets in all major languages; 5) move central committee meetings around town so that people of color are more represented at the meetings; and 6) identify other forces systemically oppressing people seeking to get politically involved.

Join the Effort

Michael is looking for committee members who would like to join him to “promote a socially and racially just democracy.” He would like to see more representation from women and minorities. Committee meetings are once a month, but can involve some homework. Innovative ideas, policy expertise and guidance on elevating other voices within the party would be greatly valued. If you are interested in providing input at every state of the development of our party’s rules and bylaws, contact Michael at rules@multdems.org.