Newsletter

May 18th Special School Board Elections

Oregon has four regularly scheduled elections a year, with the next one coming up on Tuesday, May 18th. Next month’s MultDems Digest will include an updated guide. Please note: Per our bylaws, no endorsements of any candidates will be made by the Multnomah County Democratic Party. 

  • Important Dates:
  • April 27 – Voter Registration deadline
  • April 28 – Ballots mailed to voters
  • May 11 – Last day for voters to safely return their ballot by mail
  • May 18 – Election Day (ballots due by 8 PM)

Useful Information:

Preview Your ballot

Voters Pamphlet

Map of Portland Public Schools Zones

List of Democrats on the Ballot:

  1. Portland Public Schools
    1. Zone 4 
      1. Herman Greene (Endorsed by Portland Association of Teachers)
      2. Brooklyn Sherman
    2. Zone 5 
      1. Gary Hollands (Endorsed by Portland Association of Teachers)
    3. Zone 6 – Two Democrats are running:  
      1. Matthew (Max) Margolis 
      2. Julia Brim-Edwards (Incumbent)
    4. Note: If you want some great context on the school board elections, watch Shani Harris-Bagwell, political director for Imagine Black (and HD42 precinct committee person!), interview Libra Forde and Michelle DePass:
      1. https://fb.watch/4ULVFgnd49/ 
      2. https://fb.watch/4ULSQyI43O/
  2. Portland Community College (map of zones)
    1. Zone 4 Jim Harper (Incumbent)
    2. Zone 5 Dan Saltzman (Incumbent)
  3. MESD – Multnomah Education Service District
    1. Position 1, Zone 5 
      1. Susie Jones (Incumbent)
      2. Amanda Squiemphen-Yazzie
    2. Position 2, At-Large – Helen Ying (Incumbent)
    3. Position 3, Zone 2 – Mary Botkin (Incumbent)
    4. Position 4, Zone 4 – Jessica Arzate (Incumbent)

Measures on the Ballot:

  1. Measure No. 26-221: Five year levy: Oregon Historical Society Library, Museum, educational programs (Click Link for Full Explanation)
    1. Short Summary: Renewal of this levy will continue to support the OHS’s museum, library, educational programs without increasing taxes.
  2. Measure No. 5-285: Replacement five-year local option levy for emergency service operations (Click Link for Full Explanation)
    1. Short Summary: Scappoose Rural Fire Protection District provides fire, rescue, and emergency medical services. Measure is asking to increase the existing levy by $0.75 (for a total of $1.24 per $1,000 of assessed value for five years beginning 2021-2022), which will retain all current emergency response staff and add three additional 24-hour positions and improve response times. 

Celsi Celebration Join the Big Tent Party

BUY TICKETS NOW!!

 

Last year’s Celsi Celebration (the Multnomah County Democrats’ signature fundraising event of the year) was cancelled due to the pandemic. Though a “Beyond Celsi” virtual auction raised some of the anticipated funds, it was a down year for the organization’s fundraising. We need all hands on deck to make the 2021 Celsi Celebration come back strong!

June 26th is the date for the 2021 Big Tent Party Celsi Celebration Fundraiser, with both in-person and virtual options. More details about the event will be coming soon, but volunteers and donations are welcome now.

The Celsi Celebration was named for Dick Celsi, who 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. The Celsi committee is now accepting nominations for this year’s awards, and https://celsi.multdems.org/ has more information and regular updates. Email   if you’d like to join the event committee or donate items for the auction.

MARCH Digest: Strengthening Democracy

March is women’s history month, and four years ago, women took to the streets to lead protests across the US that set a tone of resistance against an autocratic president who sought to undermine our democracy. Four years later, voters rejected the trend toward autocratic rule in favor of restoring respect for the rule of law. In Georgia, Stacy Abrams spent years preparing the ground game that flipped that state blue to establish a united government under Democrats for what may be a brief window of opportunity.  

This month, in honor of the leadership of the women who pushed back against authoritarianism, the March Digest focuses on how we move forward to strengthen democracy. We have worked too hard and come too far to not go the rest of the way and pass legislation that stops voter suppression and protects democracy for future generations. HB1, the For the People Act in Congress, goes a long way to resolve many of the issues. Closer to home, the Election Integrity Caucus of the state Demoratic party released its Alternative Voting Methods Report calling out STAR Voting as the best popular alternative voting method in Oregon and calling for it’s adoption statewide.

In this issue, we will look at some of the steps we still need to take to restore and assure election integrity, including voting reform, and we’ll spotlight some of the women in our local party who are leading the charge to make sure aspiring autocrats never have a chance to gain a foothold in this country again.

Star Voting is the way to heal democracy

By Sara Wolk, PCP, SCC Delegate and Executive Director of the Equal Vote Coalition

Necessity is the mother of invention and not surprisingly this has been a groundbreaking year for election reform. In Oregon the Equal Vote Coalition is collecting signatures for twin ballot initiatives in Multnomah and Lane Counties to fundamentally change the way we vote. If successful, we will have elections for the first time EVER where the voting system doesn’t play favorites, where every vote makes a difference, and where voting your conscience is the best strategy. This is what democracy looks like!


“Rise above the polarization and allow voters to show their full opinion!” www.starvoting.us

With STAR Voting you just give each candidate a score from 0-5. You only need to vote once in November and those ballots are counted in a 2 step process: 

 

First:   All the scores from all the ballots are totaled and the two highest scoring are finalists.

Second:   Your ballot already shows which finalist you scored higher.  The finalist preferred by more voters wins. 

Unlike our current system the star ballot lets us show our full, honest opinions and the implications are groundbreaking. Even if your favorites can’t win, your vote still makes a difference and helps prevent your worst case scenario. No matter how many candidates are in the race, STAR Voting is highly accurate at electing the candidate that best represents the people. 


The fight for the Equal Vote:

It all comes down to “One Person One Vote”. This fundamental concept is at the core of a just democracy and it goes much farther than simply making sure we each get a ballot on election day. “One Person One Vote” mandates that we all have an “Equally Weighted Vote”. Specifically, your vote should be just as powerful as mine, no matter where we live, how many candidates we like, or if we are in a minority faction. The test of balance is this: Any way I vote, you should be able to vote in an equal and opposite fashion. Our votes should be able to cancel each other’s out. 

The Equal Vote is the key in the fight against gerrymandering, and it’s the key in addressing the Electoral College. The U.S. Supreme Court has declared that equality of voting – one person, one vote – means that the weight and worth of the citizens’ votes as nearly as is practicable must be the same. The core of our voting system is how we fill out our ballots and how we vote. It’s time to bring this standard to the ballot itself. 

Unfortunately, under our current “vote for one” system, our votes are only equal if there are two candidates in a race. If there are more than that it fails the test of balance miserably, and vote splitting is the consequence. These days we often see the majority split between two similar candidates, allowing the wrong candidate to win. It’s known as the “Nader Effect” or “Spoiler Effect” and it happens all the time in elections with three or more candidates. It’s how Trump won the Republican primary. Vote splitting leaves us divided and conquered. STAR Voting solves vote splitting and the Spoiler Effect by giving each voter an Equally Weighted Vote. 

There are moments in history, tipping points, where exerting a small amount of pressure can create exponential change on every other issue that’s important to us. Voting reform is that opportunity, and the time for STAR Voting is now!

See the Equal.Vote coalition’s positions on current preference voting bills in Salem.

http://starvoting.us

Your direct voice in county decision-making is gone

A report on the state of community participation in county processes and oversight

By Bernardino De La Torre, Chair of the Multnomah County Citizen’s Involvement Committee

What has happened? Independent community involvement in Multnomah County government, created by community initiative and embedded in the County Charter, is gone – but the Charter has not changed! 

Public mistrust of government at many levels is growing. Why would a government body choose to increase that mistrust by improperly eliminating a community voice in government policy-making? Our Multnomah County government has done exactly that by co-opting and stifling the community’s voice – a Community Involvement Committee that has quietly and successfully connected the community and its government for over three decades. 

What has been lost? The CIC no longer has dedicated staff. The staff now reports to the Chair’s Office. The ability for the CIC to act quickly and independently of elected officials as an accountability mechanism is gone. None of the award winning programs and initiatives created by the CIC have continued, except for the Citizen Budget Advisory Committees (CBACS). Unfortunately, the CBACs have lost their independent status, creating suspicion of what had been truly independent budget recommendations. 

So what has been gained? Extra layers of filtering and diversion, a lack of transparency and delayed input into decision-making are now parts of the community involvement process. The record of accomplishments in the last two and a half years is nonexistent as no programs are running, no forums or workshops have taken place to gather public input regarding county policy or budget. One staff-created survey was done but only polled selected participants, with no public input into what questions were asked. The only thing that has been gained from this gutting of citizen oversight, as far as we can determine, is that the County Chair’s office now once again directly oversees the county charter review process, through her staff which now manage the CIC.

How did this happen? The transition from watchdog to lapdog.

Here’s a step-by-step process of what happened:

1)  In 2016, voters transferred coordination of the charter review appointment process from the County Chair’s office to the independent Citizen Involvement Committee (CIC).

  • The CIC had been created by voter initiative in 1984 as a government watchdog with the explicit power to hire and fire its own staff.
  • For over 30 years, the CIC managed its staff and oversaw its Office of Community Involvement, shedding light on county decision-making by involving hundreds of volunteers annually on budget and policy advisory committees. It won numerous national awards and recognition for its work.
  • That all came to a crashing halt in 2017 following a vote by citizens to transfer coordination of the charter review appointment process away from the County Chair’s Office to the independent CIC.

2) A month later, the County Chair began a relentless effort to wrest control of the CIC away from its volunteer board by taking over hiring and managing their staff:

  • After voters transferred the appointment process to the CIC, the county appointed a bunch of new CIC members and the County Chair’s Office encouraged the new CIC members to adopt new bylaws removing references to CIC supervision of its staff.
  • The county then informed the CIC that the County Chair would decide who would staff the CIC (contrary to the county charter).
  • The County Chair assigned her Chief-Of-Staff to train and supervise the new staff, asserting a new admin model for the position without discussions with the CIC or other commissioners.
  • The staff subsequently informed the CIC they would no longer supervise their own staff or oversee the Office of Community Involvement.
  • In a blatant conflict of interest, the inverted admin model effectively transitioned the voter-mandated independent watchdog organization from managing its staff to being managed BY its staff who were now taking orders from the County Chair’s Office.

3) The CIC pushed back against the illegal takeover, and staff responded by trying to discredit and oust CIC volunteers:

  • After researching the committee’s history, CIC officers were alarmed by the sudden unilateral change to the staffing structure and determined the changes were illegal.
  • Committee leaders started to present their findings to the committee, but the staff undermined their efforts saying the committee should only concern itself with the future, and not look back.
  • The committee then consulted the county Auditor who confirmed that past and current admin practices were in significant conflict, with no record of a process for making such a significant change.
  • A retreat at which the committee planned to discuss the recent changes was then canceled by staff without committee authorization.
  • In March, the CIC officers were told by the County Chair’s office that the historical independence of the CIC is ‘irrelevant’ because “Commissioners want to impose a new supervision model,” and CIC members who disagree are encouraged to resign.
  • Intent on restoring the legal authority of the CIC, the committee initiated a staff performance review. In retaliation, their staff asked County Commissioners to rescind the appointments of the CIC leaders.
  • Staff began making unsubstantiated allegations of “bullying” against committee volunteers who were asserting their right to run their own meetings in order to justify removing them from the committee, however public outcry led the Commissioners to dismiss the request.

4) Having failed to manipulate or bully the citizen watchdog committee into submission, the county disbanded the committee:

  • At its May meeting, despite staff efforts to interfere, CIC leaders were re-elected to continue the fight to restore their citizen mandate. Staff attempted to end the meeting early rather than certify the full election results.
  • In early June, the renegade staff stopped staffing committee meetings altogether, canceled meetings without authorization, and locked the committee out of their meeting room.
  • On June 22nd, the County Chair used the staff-created crises as a pretext to propose removing all members of the CIC. Rather than transfer or dismiss staff for failure to follow policy or staff the committee, the County Chair had effectively created a crisis in order to get rid of the committee that facilitates citizen input and serves a watchdog role for the county.
  • On June 28, County Commissioners voted to disband the award-winning organization due to “tension” and “gridlock” and uninvestigated staff allegations of “bullying.”
  • Seven months after voters transferred the charter review appointment process to the CIC, the County Chair effectively regained control of the charter review appointment process at the cost of undermining, defaming and disbanding its independent, voter-mandated community involvement organization.

What happened next? What has the real CIC been doing?

  • Following their ‘dismissal’, CIC officials consulted an attorney who determined the resolution dismissing the committee was not legal.
  • The CIC then held a follow-up meeting at which a quorum of members decided to restore the previous bylaws and dismissed their staff. They also voted to sue the county for the wrongful, illegal attempt to disband the Committee.
  • The county ignored their staffing decision and instead hired a private attorney to “research allegations of misconduct made against CIC members.” There was no investigation into staff misconduct, and no charges were ever brought.
  • The county also proceeded to recruit new volunteers to a new imitation CIC that takes its direction from the Chairs office.   
  • The lawsuit against the county for wrongful termination of the Citizen Involvement Committee is currently in the courts. The true independent CIC continues to meet to monitor progress in restoring the voter-mandated independence of the CIC. 

Spread the word, find out what happened and help pressure Multnomah County to restore an independent CIC!

You can show support at Follow developments at https://www.facebook.com/groups/MultcoVolunteers

 

STAR Voting Helps Create Smooth Party Elections

Here in Multnomah County, Democrats are leading the way on voting reform. We now use a preference voting system with an automatic runoff. It’s called STAR Voting, and it eliminates vote splitting, assures a winner preferred by the majority and enables voters to vote their conscience, knowing their vote will always go to the candidate they prefer most. After 18 months of study, the state party Election Integrity Caucus released its Alternative Voting Methods Report, in which STAR Voting emerged as the method that best met criteria called for in our state party platform. It’s a game-changer for democracy and we are leading the way. STAR stands for Score Then Automatic Runoff. It’s familiar and easy for voters, and we’ve now used it successfully several times to elect officers and delegates in local party elections. In both recent elections, candidates from traditionally underrepresented communities did well. From a field of over 100 candidates in the January Organizing Meeting, 20 candidates who were people of color or from other marginalized communities won 25 of 39 delegate positions (64% of the seats.), showing that STAR did not disadvantage minority candidates in that race. Similarly, at the CD3 Committee Meeting, while representing less than half the overall candidates, candidates from traditionally marginalized communities won 60% of the delegate and alternate positions. For those who have questions about STAR Voting at the 2021 Reorg, we’ve gathered some Q&A from experts who watched the elections.

On Sunday, the CD3 Committee hosted a meeting to elect new delegates and alternatives to the DPO Standing Committees. The committee used STAR Voting to run the election, and the voting system worked well to smoothly and quickly elect a group of candidates supported by the majority of all voters. Two months earlier, in January, the Multnomah County Democrats used STAR Voting to elect officers, as well as SCC Delegates and Alternates. That meeting had numerous interruptions and got sidetracked into long discussions, but the actual voting process (the act of voting and tabulating results) went smoothly and quickly. Indeed, had we been using the former system, the meeting could have taken even longer!

While most people felt comfortable using the STAR ballot and voting required minimal instructions, it is worth noting that giving proper instructions for any new voting system is important. In both sets of elections, candidates from traditionally underrepresented communities did well. From a field of over 100 candidates in the January Organizing Meeting, 20 candidates who were people of color or from other marginalized communities beat the other 80% of candidates to win 25 of 39 delegate positions (64% of the seats.), showing that STAR did not disadvantage minority candidates in that race. Similarly, at the CD3 Committee Meeting, while representing less than half the overall candidates, candidates from traditionally marginalized communities won 60% of the delegate and alternate positions.

For those who have questions about STAR Voting at the 2021 Reorg, we’ve gathered some Q&A from experts who watched the elections.

Some Questions & Answers about the 2021 MultDems Reorg

Q: The last election for MultDems used a different voting method. What was the new system?
A: In September of 2019 Multnomah County Democrats voted by a supermajority to adopt STAR Voting for all internal elections with three or more candidates. Officers are now elected using single-winner STAR Voting, and for multi-winner races such as for State Central Committee and congressional district delegates Bloc STAR is used.

The new system was first used in a Party Reorganization (regular election for party offices) on January 23rd, 2021. 

Q: Is there a voter guide for how to vote in the new system?
A: Yes. This link to the guide on how to vote with STAR Voting from the Equal Vote Coalition can be found here, in both English and Spanish. These resources are available in additional languages on request by emailing  

Q: Results were gender balanced. What does that mean and how does it work?
A: All multi-winner elections for Multnomah County Democrats are gender balanced, with neither male or female identifying candidates able to win more than ½ + 1 of the seats for each delegation. All candidates are listed on the same ballot, and non-binary candidates are able to win a seat anytime they have the most support, regardless of gender.

Gender balancing is an additional step that’s performed after the STAR Voting election is tallied. The election is tallied according to STAR Voting, and a candidate ranking is generated, showing who came in 1st place, 2nd place etc. Gender balanced winners are then selected by going down this list alternating between male and female candidaets and electing non-binary candidates any time they are at the top of the list.

Q: Why did the meeting take so long?
A: This was the first electronic Reorg meeting hosted by the Multnomah County Democrats, which is the largest county party in the state. The meeting was 100% staffed by volunteers, and included over 320 participants. There were some significant technological hurdles with credentialing, volunteer coordination, and tech support for participants, as well as the logistics of emailing multiple resources to so many people, both before and during the meeting.

Party bylaws are clear that participants should not be automatically muted, but with so many people on the call, waiting to be called on was challenging in some cases, due to the volume of participants.

A few issues came up with technology and a few mistakes were made, including a mix up with the sample ballot and real ballot links, and incorrect voting links were distributed a couple of times. Correcting the mistake ended up requiring the body to debate and then approve proposed solutions and extended timelines.

Mistakes happen and democracy can be messy, but the meeting length didn’t have anything to do with STAR Voting. Results were available following voting within the expected time frame. 

Q: What takeaways were there from the Bloc STAR election outcomes?
A: In the MultCo election, diversity won big and polarizing candidates from both factions appear to have done worse than in the past, though that is an inherently subjective determination. Here are the diversity results. “From a field of 100+ candidates, 20 diverse candidates (all but two,) won 25 of 39 delegate positions (64%.)”

Q: Slates encouraged voters to give their candidates 5 stars. Did that give them an advantage?
A: The old system, Bloc Plurality is notorious for being SUPER gameable. Factions who all voted as a block for a slate, and voted for exactly the number of candidates as the seats available, got a huge advantage in the old system. That’s why slates have historically been such a big deal. Individuals who didn’t vote with the block were at a huge disadvantage with the old system.

Bloc STAR mitigates those issues, making slates less powerful, and making it less important to vote for the exact number of candidates running. Of course getting good endorsement will always be helpful, and of course voters will ideally score at least as many candidates as there are seats, but if there are 10 seats you do not need to give 5 stars to all 10 candidates, unless there are 10 you truly love. You should show your honest preference order.

Q: Is Bloc STAR vulnerable to strategic voting? 
A: With any new system people experiment with how to game it. With Bloc STAR the key to good strategy is the same as in single-winner. Give your favorites 5, your worst candidates 0, and show your preference order and level of support for the rest. In short, honesty is the best policy.

Even if voters are strategic in Bloc STAR the results will be much more representative, and those who vote strategically will have less of an edge. No voting method can eliminate all possibilities for strategic voting, but in STAR Voting strategic voting is not incentivized or effective. 


Attempting strategic voting in STAR can backfire, and most voters will get the best results if they are honest. For example, a voter who only loves 9 candidates but who strategically decides to give 5 stars to 21 candidates because there are 21 winners for SCC is giving up their power to have a say in which of those 21 will win, or in what order. If you honestly just want any of the 21 to win that is an honest good vote. If you want your favorites to win the top spots then you should only give top scores to your favorites. A good vote in this situation would be to give a top score to your 9 favorites, and then give other candidates you hope will win 4 stars, or the number of stars you think they deserve showing your honest preference order.

Q: Do people who give less high scores have less power?
A: No. Your scores will help your favorites pull ahead of the rest. If your have lots of favorites give lots of high scores, if you only have one favorite then only give your top score to them. It’s up to you to decide what your honest vote looks like. Showing your preference order and level of support for the candidates helps ensure that your scores help the best candidates advance to the runoff and hopefully win each seat.

A key point here is that in the runoff, each ballot is one vote. Whether voters give lots of 5s or just a few your final vote will go to the finalist you prefer. The runoff is binary, and it actually will correct for any strategic voting or distortion from normal variations in voting behavior, to the extent possible.

Q: Do we propose voting like this, with multi-winner Bloc STAR and lots of winners, for governmental elections?
A: No. The SCC elected 21 delegates off one ballot. That’s not a situation we ever see in Oregon governmental elections. Having this many winners in a single governmental election would compromise geographic representation, so it’s not recommended. 

Multi-winner bloc voting may be a good option for a few limited situations where a small multi-member district makes sense, but in general At-Large elections are not recommended for a number of reasons that are beyond the scope of this FAQ. 

This system makes good sense for delegate elections and is a big step up from what we had before. In the future Proportional representation could be another good option worth considering. 


Q: Would Bloc STAR be good for a primary?
A: Yes. Bloc STAR would be the best choice for a top 5 primary as it would eliminate vote splitting and accurately advance the top 5 most viable candidates.

With STAR voting primaries could be eliminated entirely, or they could advance the top 10 or top 5. We like 5 when a primary is needed, but in most cases it’s better to just skip the primary, which is more inclusive, cheapest, and has real advantages for reducing the influence of money in politics.

Run for Something!

Want to run? Local elections deadlines are coming up fast!

Seats are open for the May election, across Multnomah County, including school boards, community college boards and more. The Campaign Committee asks you to think about running, and to reach out to Democratic neighbors and friends who can represent us well and ensure excellent, safe, and equitable service for our county’s residents, families, staff and students. Could this be you?

The Multnomah County filing deadline is  March 18th, and the deadline to submit a candidate statement for Voter pamphlet is March 22nd. Ballots will be mailed to voters on  April 28th, and Election Day is Tuesday, May 18th!

For all Democrats: Have you moved lately? Make sure your voter status is current and confirm that you are a registered Democrat. It’s easy and quick to register and update.

Go to My Vote

Quick links:

Multnomah County Elections office- Who’s already filed?

Which seats are open?

How to file and more information

Supporting Black Activists and Businesses

Here are some other ways to celebrate and support Black activists and businesses...

A film and discussion about outstanding Black women activists.

The panel: Dr. Rosa Colquitt, Candace Avalos and more notable women! 100% of the proceeds go to the Democratic Party of Oregon’s Black Caucus and women-owned indie Clinton Street Theater. Tickets are $10 and scholarships are available.  For more information, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/black-history-month-icons-3-black-women-who-made-history-tickets-138670829183

Check out this excellent documentary chronicling the little-known history of racism in Oregon and the moving story of people, both black and white, who worked for civil rights. There are moments of highly disturbing racism in a state not known for diversity. But there are also moments of inspiration and courage as people take a stand to bring about important change.

The variety of foods offered by black-owned restaurants and food trucks in the Portland area is wide and varied, and represents every corner of the U.S. to the Caribbean to Africa.

Cannabis Reform is a BIPOC Issue:

“The War on Drugs has been a war on people—particularly people of color. Ending the federal marijuana prohibition is necessary to right the wrongs of this failed war and end decades of harm inflicted on communities of color across the country. But that alone is not enough. As states continue to legalize marijuana, we must also enact measures that will lift up people who were unfairly targeted in the War on Drugs.” – Joint Statement from U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, U.S. Senators. Ron Wyden and Cory Booker

 

Black Leadership in Oregon History

During Black History Month, it’s good to reflect on just a few of the many leaders of color, who have worked hard for equity and inclusion and helped make Oregon a better place. This month, Multnomah County Democrats want to honor people who blazed trails and worked with many others to bring change to our state.

Avel Gordley

Avel Louise Gordly is an activist, community organizer, and former politician in Oregon, who in 1996 became the first African-American woman to be elected to the Oregon State Senate. She served in the Senate from 1997 to 2009. Previously, she served for five years in the Oregon House of Representatives.

After five years at Pacific Northwest Bell, she enrolled at Portland State University, earning a degree in the administration of justice.[1] Though an avid reader, it was not until her time at Portland State University that she was first exposed to African American literature and noted how she had not been exposed to this during her time in the public school system.[2]During her time at PSU she also applied to participate with Operations Crossroads Africa and was accepted, sending her to West Africa with most of her time spent in a small village in Nigeria, all of which would go on to be a life-changing experience.[2] In 1974, she became the first person in her family to graduate from college.[2] After graduating, Gordly began working with the State of Oregon Corrections Division as a counselor in a work release facility for women where she noticed racial bias that led to work release for black women and education release for white women. [3]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avel_Gordly

Willie Beatrice Barrow (née Taplin; December 7, 1924 – March 12, 2015) was an American civil rights activist and minister. Barrow was the co-founder of Operation PUSH, which was named Operation Breadbasket at the time of its creation alongside Rev. Jesse Jackson. In 1984, Barrow became the first woman executive director of a civil rights organization, serving as Push’s CEO. Barrow was the godmother of President Barack Obama.[5]

When she was 12, she organized a demonstration with fellow students to protest that white students were allowed to ride the bus, but black students had to walk to school. Barrow confronted the bus driver and demanded that he let her fellow students ride.[6] When the bus driver confronted her about it she said “Y’all can kill me if you want to. But I’m tired.”[7] When Barrow turned 16, she moved to Portland, Oregon, to study at the Warner Pacific Theological Seminary (now Warner Pacific College). While still a student, Barrow and a group of black residents helped build one of the first black Churches of God in the city; she was ordained as a minister after graduation.[8] She started working as a welder during World War II at the Kaiser Shipyards in Swan Island, Washington, where she met Clyde Barrow, whom she married in 1945 in Washington state.[9]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_Barrow

Willie Barrow

Beatrice Morrow Cannady (January 9, 1890 – August 19, 1974)[1] was a renowned civil rights advocate in early 20th-century Oregon, United States. She was editor of the Advocate, the state’s largest African-American newspaper.[2] She was also co-founder and vice president of the Portland, Oregon chapter of the NAACP.[3][4]

Upon moving to Portland, Cannady became associate editor of The Advocate.[6] Her work through the newspaper drew attention to racial violence during the early 1920s and prompted a statement from Governor Ben W. Olcott decrying the actions of the Ku Klux Klan, which was spreading through Oregon at the time.

In addition to her editorial work, Cannady helped to establish the Portland chapter of the NAACP in 1913. This organization marked the first such branch of the organization formed west of the Mississippi River[7] and continues to actively participate in the Portland community. Acting as the chapter’s secretary, Cannady worked with the group to remove racist, exclusionary language from Oregon’s constitution, a mission which succeeded in 1926 and 1927 when the changes were ratified.[8] Cannady also led protests against Ku Klux Klan propaganda film The Birth of a Nation.[2]

Cannady graduated from Northwestern College of Law in 1922, making her the first black woman to graduate from law school in Oregon.[9] She went on to become the first black woman to practice law in Oregon.[10] A Republican, she was the first black woman to run for state representative.[9] Cannady successfully advocated for the passage of civil rights bills by the Oregon state legislature. Her efforts helped integrate public schools in Longview, Washington and Vernonia, Oregon.[2]

In 1927, Cannady represented Oregon at the 4th annual Pan-African Congress in New York City.[11]

William Arthur Hilliard (May 28, 1927 – January 16, 2017) was an American journalist. He was editor of The Oregonian, the major daily newspaper in Portland, Oregon, from 1987 to 1994 and was that newspaper’s first African-American editor. He was also president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1993–94.

As a youth, he applied for a job as a newspaper delivery boy for The Oregonian, but his application was rejected out of concerns that having a black delivery boy would not be acceptable to the paper’s white subscribers.[2][4] He graduated from Benson Polytechnic High School, where he had worked on the school newspaper, and spent a year in the U.S. Navy after being drafted at the end of the Second World War.[3]

Hilliard worked at The Oregonian from 1952 to 1994, starting as a copy boy, and then rising to clerk, sports reporter, religion and general assignment reporter, and in 1965 assistant city editor. In 1971, he became city editor, and in 1982 was named executive editor.[4] He oversaw the merging of the paper with the Oregon Journal in 1982.[4] His first big story was the Holt Korean Babylift in 1956. When he was named city editor it was considered national news, warranting an article in Time Magazine. In 1980 he served as one of four panelists in the nationally televised debates between President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.[1]

In 1987, Hilliard was named editor of The Oregonian, with “full control over the newspaper’s news and editorial departments.”[2] He was the newspaper’s first African-American editor.[4] He introduced zoned suburban coverage and expanded coverage of minorities issues, as well as increasing the hiring of minorities by the paper. While he was editor two staffers complained to him about how the nicknames of sports teams were demeaning to Native Americans. Under Hilliard’s leadership The Oregonian stopped using demeaning sports nicknames in 1992, and the newspaper also stopped identifying people by race in crime stories unless absolutely necessary.[1]

Hilliard served as president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) in 1993–94,[4] the first African-American to be elected to that position.[1] In 1993, he was given the President’s Award of the National Association of Black Journalists, which called him a role model.[1] He remained editor of The Oregonian until retiring in 1994,[4] although during the last year of his tenure with the paper he gave his designated successor, executive editor Sandra M. Rowe, effective control of the editor’s duties and focused his attention on ASNE duties.[3]

In 1998, Hilliard was given the Oregon Newspaper Hall of Fame Award by the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association.[7]

In 2002, when it was discovered that USA Today reporter Jack Kelley had fabricated some of his stories, USA Today turned to Hilliard, along with veteran editors John Seigenthaler Sr. and Bill Kovach, to monitor the investigation.[8]

William “Bill” McCoy (June 11, 1921 – April 1996), was an American politician from Oregon. In 1972, he was the first African American elected to the Oregon State Legislature. After serving one term in the Oregon House of Representatives, he was appointed to serve in the Oregon Senate. In the next election he was elected to the same seat and served until his death in 1996. His senate district covered North Portland and much of Northeast Portland.[1] He was a Democrat.

One of McCoy’s first actions after being elected to the Oregon legislature was to introduce House Resolution 13, ratifying the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which Oregon had never formally ratified after rescinding a previous ratification.[3]

McCoy Park in Portland is named for Bill McCoy and his wife Gladys, who became the first black member of the Portland school board in 1970, and the first black Multnomah County commissioner in 1979.[4]

The Dream, a sculpture of Martin Luther King Jr. in Portland, is dedicated to Bill and Gladys McCoy.[5]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_McCoy_(Oregon_politician)

Bill McCoy

Legislative Action Alert

Legislative Action Alert | And How You Can Track What is Happening in Salem

Three bills are wending their way through the statehouse right now, all of which are worthy of attention:

  • SB 683: This senate bill will help students understand the unique contributions of African Americans in this state and country.
  • HB 2168: African Americans have been celebrating Juneteenth for well over a century. Declaring it a legal state holiday is a step in the right direction. 
  • SJM 4: Reparations for African Americans are 155 years past due.
  • HB 2002: Converts mandatory minimum sentences for specified felonies other than murder to presumptive sentences.

To view and track current legislation in the Oregon House and Senate, learn to navigate OLIS (Oregon Legislative Information System) in 60 seconds with Rep. Dacia Grayber by Clicking Here.