Did You Know?
A Celebratory Evening Inspiring & Informative
It was wonderful to see so many of you at our outdoor garden party last week. Being together in person renewed our energy, commitment, and solidarity. Representative Rob Nosse (rhymes with “dose”) and Senator Michael Dembrow (pictured below) fielded questions and talked about the issues close to their hearts. It was especially fascinating to listen to their first-hand accounts of the Republican walk-out during the legislative session. Both Representative Nosse (District 42, Inner East Side) and Senator Michael Dembrow (Senate District 23) have excellent newsletters. You can sign up for Nosse’s newsletters here and Dembrow’s here.
Addressing Homelessness Independent Audit Pinpoints Chokepoints
One of the questions asked during A4D’s gathering last week related to homelessness and why so little seems to be happening to deal with it. According to sources cited by HereTogether Oregon, homelessness in the United States has surged by an unprecedented 11% between this year and last, marking the largest increase since recording began in 2007. Thanks to the Supportive Housing Services (SHS) measure here in Portland, the largest per capita investment in homeless services in the country, we have a chance to buck national trends. However, there are numerous stumbling blocks and chokepoints hampering the work. You can read the findings from a recent independent audit here. For even more precise, timely, and relevant information about the Metro region, sign up for HereTogether’s newsletter here.
Portland & Zenith Energy
The folks at DeSmog unearthed internal documents that suggest the city's political staff worked with Zenith Energy in advance of approving the renewal of Zenith’s oil-by-rail operations in Portland. Read more about this outrageous sequence of events here. Please call the Mayor’s office and the Commissioners to tell them that Portland deserves transparent and trustworthy governance and that we don't want decisions countermanded by opaque, last-minute political maneuverings. You can find contact information here and here.
Oregon Senate Republicans Cry Foul
Living with the consequences of their own actions, or lack thereof, doesn’t seem to be high on the agenda for Oregon’s Senate Republicans. After walking out during the legislative session, they are now suing to keep their seats and challenging Measure 113. Read about it here. Oregon is one of only four states in the nation that has a two-thirds quorum requirement. (The other three are Missouri, Mississippi, and Texas.) This means that the minority can hold the majority hostage until robust counter-measures are put in place. If you’re tired of Oregon being held hostage by a minority legislature pandering to its extreme base, then sign up for the upcoming COINversation on Tuesday, September 12, at 7:00pm with State Representative Khanh Pham. She will outline the idea of a citizen’s initiative petition to change Oregon’s antiquated quorum rule and prevent future walkouts. Sign up to attend here.
Chavez-DeRemer Mocks Town Halls
The path to winning back the House from a MAGA majority runs right through Oregon District 5. Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer styles herself as a moderate, knowing that the majority of her constituents do not share her extreme views, unknown to many in her district. As part of an effort to educate the voter base, the DeRemer Accountability Team (DRAT) will be holding a series of mock town halls in October to attract media attention to this situation. The amount of media attention will be proportional to the number of people who show up. Please consider attending one of the three planned town halls. They will take place during the week starting Monday, October 9, in Bend, Albany, and Clackamas. Exact dates and venue details will follow soon. You can read more about Lori’s frightening values here.
Democracy vs Authoritarianism: Voting Rights
When the House passed a version of the Freedom to Vote Act in 2021, every Republican in the Senate voted against it, even though 70% of all Americans likely to vote support it. As if this wasn’t bad enough, House Republicans have recently introduced what they misleadingly call the American Confidence in Elections Act, or ACE, which restricts voting and undermines election integrity. Fortunately, the Freedom to Vote Act has been reintroduced for 2023. Read more here.
Refugee Art Show Reception
Lutheran Community Services Northwest invites you to join them for their Refugee Art Show reception during Immigrant & Refugee Welcoming Week on Monday, September 11 from 6:00 to 8:00pm in collaboration with Portland's Office of Community and Civic Life. Enjoy art, refreshments, and meet the artists who share their incredible stories and artwork.
Digital Abortion Clinics and Privacy
WIRED magazine recently ranked digital abortion clinics according to how much they respect the user’s privacy. With Meta (previously Facebook), Google, and others placing stealth data-gathering pixels on websites across the internet, the safety and privacy of women seeking an abortion is more important than ever. Read WIRED’s ranking here. And follow this link for a simple tool to find out in seconds who is tracking you. It is especially useful for web pages on which you enter personal information.
A Disaster Is a Terrible Thing to Waste
The same reasons that make disasters ripe for profiteers to assert their own agendas, also provide a counter opportunity to build/take back public power. Things that never seemed possible before like guaranteed housing, food, and Universal Basic Income all of the sudden become possible. To read more in the article from which this quote was taken, go to The Response: “Twenty Lessons on How Communities Are Changed by Disasters." Don’t forget: Maui is still in crisis. Here’s how to help.
How the Inflation Reduction Act Fights for Our Climate Future
Record heat waves in the South and Midwest? Deadly wildfires in Maui and Canada? Catastrophic storms in Texas and California? Smog-covered cities everywhere? The Inflation Reduction Act, passed with Democrat votes only, is incentivizing green-energy projects that will rein in greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change. Read about it here.
Some Good News
This recent article features a refugee family who resettled in Vancouver, Washington with the help of Lutheran Community Services. This video shares the story of another refugee family's journey to safety.