Newsletter

What’s on your May 2021 ballot?

Ballots are mailed to voters April 28th. 

Your Ballot is due in Ballot Boxes May 18 at 8pm sharp. Or in the mail by May 11th. 

Below are all the Democrats running for local election in this special election. To look up voter statements for local Democratic candidates, consult the MultDems Voter HUB

Multnomah County Elections website includes drop box locations,  assistance for voters, tracking your ballot, multilingual instructions.  https://multco.us/elections 

School Board members volunteer their time and energy to serve our community. An effective school board plays an important watchdog role in keeping districts on track and setting policies that affect students and staff. The school board sets the vision and goals for the school district, and holds the district accountable for results. They hire and evaluate the superintendent, adopt and oversee the annual budget, manage the collective bargaining process for employees, approve the school calendar, adopt curriculum, oversee construction, and more. 

We support Democrats running in these community elections. Democrats know that high-quality, safe, well-funded, equitable public education for all students not only enriches our personal lives but strengthens our economy and is critical to a well-functioning democracy. We support a racially, ethnically, linguistically,  culturally diverse workforce to meet student needs, and support union representation for teachers and other staff. See our full party platform multdems.org/platform 

You’ll find even more information about each  candidate in their voter pamphlet statements, on  their websites and on the Multnomah Democrats  website. https://multdems.org/

This candidate list is county-wide. Your ballot will include only the at-large and zone races specific to your address. 

K-12 School Boards 

Our schools prepare students for life—for college, for work, for living within a family and within a community, and for participating effectively in the democratic process. * (A/B) AFTER A NAME, IT MEANS TWO DEMOCRATS  ARE RUNNING FOR THE SAME POSITION. 

CENTENNIAL SCHOOL DISTRICT 

Position 1 Zone 1 David Linn 

Position 5 Zone 3 Claudia Andrews 

Position 6 At-Large Erica Fuller 

Position 7 At-Large Heath Curry 

CORBETT SCHOOL DISTRICT  

Position 2 Vanessa Lyon 

Position 3 Michelle Vo 

Position 4 Leah Fredericks 

DAVID DOUGLAS SCHOOL DISTRICT  

Position 2 Stephanie D Stephens

Position 3

Hoa Nguyen (A)

Deian Salazar (B) 

Position 6 Andrea Valderrama 

GRESHAM-BARLOW SCHOOL DISTRICT 

Position 1 Zone 1 Robyn Stowers

Position 4 At-Large

Carla C Piluso (A)

Julie Frediani (B) 

Position 5 Zone 4 Jasia Mosley 

Position 6 At-Large Mayra L Gómez *

PARKROSE SCHOOL DISTRICT  

Position 1 Joshua Singleton

Position 4 Sonja Mckenzie 

Position 5 Elizabeth Durant  

PORTLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT  

Zone 4

Brooklyn Sherman (A) 

Herman Greene (B) 

Zone 5 Gary Hollands 

Zone 6

Matthew (Max) Margolis (A) 

Julia Brim-Edwards (B) 

REYNOLDS SCHOOL DISTRICT  

Position 1

Aaron Muñoz (A) 

Charles Crowder (B) 

Position 2 Matt Richardson

Position 3 Michael Reyes 

Position 4 Cayle Tern 

CORBETT SCHOOL DISTRICT  

Position 1 Jeff Dominitz

Position 5

Kevin McPherson (A)

Allison Williams (B) 

Community College Boards 

Community colleges serve everyone though  multiple missions — critical workforce  development and retraining, preparing  students for their next steps in higher  education, and community enrichment. 

MT HOOD COMMUNITY COLLEGE 

Zone 1 Diane McKeel 

Zone 4 Annette L Mattson 

PORTLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE 

* (A/B) after a name, it means two democrats  are running for the same position. 

Zone 1 Laurie J Cremona Wagner  

Zone 4 Jim Harper 

Zone 5 Dan Saltzman 

Zone 6 Mohamed Alyajouri  Reiko

Zone 7 

Mia Williams (A) 

Kristi Wilson (B) 

MESD 

Multnomah Education Service District is a  regional cooperative providing programs and  services to school districts all over Multnomah  County including:  School Health Services, Special Education,  Alternative Education, Technology, Outdoor  School and School Improvement.  

Position 1 Zone 5 Susie Jones  

Position 2 At-Large Helen Ying 

Position 3 Zone 2 Mary Botkin  

Position 4 Zone 4 Jessica Arzate 

Democrats Deliver

What’s in the American Rescue Plan for you and your family 

Here’s some of the tools to help us to recover our health, our schools and our economy: 

COVID Vaccinations — we’re over 200 million  doses already

The ARP invests about $160 billion to manufacture and provide the vaccines, supplies, testing, and public health workforce to stop the spread of  COVID-19 while distributing vaccines as quickly as possible to states, counties, pharmacies,  community health centers and mobile vaccinators as we continue to address racial disparities in  COVID-19 outcomes. As of April 19 — all Oregonians 16+ will be eligible to receive a vaccine. Find an  appointment https://covidvaccine.oregon.gov/ 

Safely re-open schools

Provide $130 billion to help schools serve all students, no matter where they are learning, to safely open schools and keep them open. 

These investments include set-asides at the local and state level to ensure states and districts address the learning loss and social and emotional needs of students disproportionately impacted by  COVID-19, including students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities.  

Immediate relief to American families. Direct payment of a $1,400 per-person, bringing  total per-person relief payment from this and the  December down payment to $2,000. 

Extend current unemployment insurance benefits and eligibility to September 6, with a $300 per week supplement so 18 million American workers can pay their bills. Also the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 will be tax-free. 

Help Americans stay in their homes. The pandemic has left 1 in 5 renters and millions of homeowners behind. Through states and local governments, ARP provides emergency rental assistance to cover back rent. And funds to help struggling homeowners catch up with their mortgage payments and utility costs through the  Homeowners Assistance Fund. And, it provides additional funding for families and individuals who are recovering from or at risk of homelessness. Oregon will be distributing funds at www.oregon.gov/ohcs/. Multnomah County residents will be able to access through calling 211. 

Keep food on the table

The American Rescue Plan will increase SNAP  nutrition assistance benefits by 15 percent  through September 2021. It increases Seniors’  and Women and Children’s assistance. Protects  food worker safety and support for farmers of  color. The bill also funds partnerships with  restaurants to feed American families and keep  workers in the restaurant industry on the job.  

Cut childhood poverty by half

Increase the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for a child under age 6). This means a typical family of four with two young children will receive an additional  $3,200 in assistance to help cover costs associated with raising children. The families of more than 66 million kids will benefit beginning this summer, with advance payments arriving as a monthly check. If you’re welcoming a new baby this year — look for the new IRS portal soon that allows you to receive your full benefit. 

Protect our Health Care

Lower or eliminate health insurance premiums for millions of lower and middle-income families enrolled in health insurance marketplaces. A family of four making $90,000 could see their monthly premium come down by $200 per month. The plan also subsidizes premiums for continuation health coverage (COBRA) for workers who had insurance through their jobs. 

Support resurgence of Small Business. Since the beginning of this pandemic, 400,000  small businesses have closed and millions more are hanging by a thread. ARP provides emergency grants, lending, and investment to hard-hit small businesses so they can rehire and retain workers and purchase the health and sanitation equipment they need to keep workers safe. This includes a  Small Business Opportunity Fund to provide growth capital to Main Street small businesses in economically disadvantaged areas, including minority-owned businesses. And extending the  Employee Retention Credit for small businesses  through December 2021 

Provide $28 billion for a new grant program  to support hard-hit small restaurants and  other food and drinking establishments. Grants can be used for payroll costs, mortgage,  rent, utilities, new outdoor seating construction,  PPE and cleaning materials, inventory, paid sick  leave, etc This could be a lifeline for many of our  friends and neighbors. Find the details for this RRF  Grant and other SBA support www.sba.gov.  Special thanks to Congressman Earl Blumenauer  for championing this program. 

Sustaining our Arts Community

Grants for live venue operators, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, museum operators, motion picture theatre operators, and talent representatives that are struggling. See Shuttered Venues at  www.sba.gov 

Distribute more than $360 billion in emergency  funding for state, local, territorial, and Tribal  governments to ensure that they are in a position  to keep public workers on the job and paid,  while also effectively distributing the vaccine,  scaling testing, reopening schools, and maintaining  other vital services. And help hard-hit public  transit agencies avoid layoffs and service  reductions, which disproportionately harm  workers who are more likely to be dependent on  public transportation.  

Keeping Fire, Police, front-line workers  on the job

American Rescue Plan Benefits Oregon 

• $2.758 billion in state fiscal relief 

• $1.5 billion in local fiscal relief 

• More than $1.1 billion in relief for K-12 schools 

• Economic impact payments of up to $1,400 per person (above the $600 per person provided in   December) for more than 2.7 million adults and   971,000 children. This is 86% of all adults in the state and 86% of all children in the state. 

• Additional relief of up to $1,600 per child through the Child Tax Credit to the families of 779,000 children, lifting 40,000 children out of poverty 

• Additional relief of up to nearly $1,000 through the Earned Income Tax Credit to 264,000 childless workers, including many in front-line jobs 

• Marketplace health insurance premiums that are $1325 lower per month for a 60-year old couple earning $75,000 per year 

Visit the White House website for more information https://www.whitehouse.gov/american-rescue-plan/ 

Thanks to our members of Congress for their advocacy and updates. 

Rep Earl Blumenauer, 

Rep Suzanne Bonamici, 

Sen Ron Wyden 

Sen Jeff Merkley 

Protecting Our Voting Rights

A record 159 million Americans turned out to vote  in 2020. We should celebrate! Instead, 43 states are  in the process of enacting over 250 voter restriction bills that will make it harder for young, elderly, and  voters of color to make their voices heard. Georgia  was only the first. It’s up to Congress now to pass  the For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act to protect every Americans’ right to vote. 

For the People

Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley has teamed up with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senate  Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY)  introducing S.1., the For the People Act—  comprehensive reforms that would end special-interest corruption of our politics and make government work for the people.  

The landmark legislation—companion legislation  to H.R. 1, which was passed by the U.S. House of  Representatives on March 3—aims to restore the  promise of American democracy by guaranteeing  every American citizen full access to the ballot by  addressing voter intimidation and suppression,  which are among the biggest examples of systemic  racism in America; ending the corrupting power of  dark money in our campaigns; and putting an end  to gerrymandering. In addition, it strengthens  ethics laws to ensure that public servants work for  the public interest. 

“Every American—regardless of the color of their  skin, where they live, or how much money they  have—deserves a seat at the table and an equal  voice in their government,” said Merkley. “If you really believe in the vision of our republic, you believe in voter empowerment and not voter suppression.” 

The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act. Originally called the Voting Rights Advancement  Act was renamed for the late civil rights icon and  congressman following his death, looks to restore  the preclearance formula to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The VRA is widely regarded as the single  most effective piece of civil rights legislation in  our nation’s history. As recently as 2006 it won  reauthorization with overwhelming bipartisan  support. The law allowed federal officials and  courts to block discriminatory changes in voting  rules in states with a history of voting rights  violations. It blocked 86 attempts to subvert  

voting rights between 1998 and 2013 from  becoming law. Until the Supreme Court stuck it  down in 2013 as no longer needed. We’re now  seeing the assault on voting rights to disenfranchise voters, just as lawmakers did before the original  Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. 

Corporate America begins to take a stand. They’ve done this before in 2006; helping to push  reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act. Pressure is  mounting on leading companies in Texas, Arizona  and other states, particularly after Major League  Baseball’s decision to move the 2021 All-Star Game  out of Atlanta. A joint statement from executives at  nearly 200 companies, including HP, Microsoft,  PayPal, Target, Twitter, Uber took aim at state  legislation “threatening to make voting more  difficult” and said “elections are not improved”  when lawmakers impose new barriers to voting.  As customers and employees, we can certainly  encourage this kind of action. More info at  CivicAlliance.com. 

You can make a difference, stay engaged and  support democracy. 

Make calls, write Letters to the Editor, share the  message. These and many other organizations are  working now to protect the vote, pass For The  People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act,  and fix the filibuster. 

Common Cause www.commoncause.org 

Indivisible indivisible.org/campaigns 

Center for Common Ground  

www.centerforcommonground.org/take-action Fair Fight Action www.fairfight.com 

Black Voters Matter blackvotersmatterfund.org Voting Rights Alliance www.votingrightsalliance.org

APRIL Digest: Taking Action

April Digest: Taking Action

Hello fellow Democrats

April is Earth Month. As a child growing up here, I remember April was always the rainy month. A few days ago, the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning of fire dangers for most of Northwest Oregon. Addressing the impacts of climate change will occupy the rest of our lives on many fronts, from the economy to migration to health care. Democrats have advocated for addressing both the causes and impacts of climate change, along with other progressive policies, but our advocacy means little unless we also take action. That’s why the theme for this month’s Digest is Taking Action

James Davis, MultDems Communications

A forward-thinking platform and progressive resolutions are not enough. We must work to make sure our bold ideas are enacted. Long-time member, Robert Reynolds, has been working for years with fellow Democrats to help bring our legislators into greater alignment with our platform. Recently, newly elected State Representative Khanh Pham supported our plank on Public Banks when she sponsored HB 2743 supporting municipal banks. And this month, the Comms Team, working with Bobbi Yambasu, created a new Action Alerts newsletter headed up by Comms volunteer, Britton Taylor, to alert members when important legislation needs our support and how we can help. In MultDems, we’re taking action in many ways every day to move our city, county, state and nation forward.  

Read our April articles to learn more, and look for an opportunity soon to subscribe to our Action Alerts. As always, thanks for doing your part to take action and make a difference!

See all Digest Articles

Action Alerts! Hot Bills and What You Can Do

At the heart of MultDems is the push for progress related to our Platform. To make it easier for PCP’s to actively participate in this push, the Comms Team, along with Bobbi Yambasu’s help, has started to put together Legislative Action Alerts, a weekly email newsletter highlighting measures that need assistance from our membership. These will be simple actions that you can take, from emailing or phoning a legislator to providing testimony at the local or state level. Our goal is to send these alerts on weekends, when you have a little extra time to pitch in. We sincerely hope that you will participate in these efforts, and if you have any legislation that you or your study group are passionate about. please send an email to or . In the near future, we also hope to open up these alerts beyond our membership to include anyone in the community who is looking to help us push our agenda forward.

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