I think we should savor our recent electoral victories.
This election cycle revealed the powerful ways in which the ACLU is transforming to rise to this political moment. With the Trump administration attacking civil rights and civil liberties, we needed to expand our capacity and enhance our strategies. Here, in Oregon, we created a massive voter outreach effort that mobilized thousands. Our members and supporters made over 50,000 calls and knocked on over 20,000 doors. We cannot under-estimate the value of those volunteer efforts.
Given the political landscape, I worried about the outcome of Measure 105. We were fighting an anti-immigrant ballot measure at a time when Trump was making his closing argument for this mid-term election entirely about fear, xenophobia, and racism. If we lost, there was a real risk that this ballot measure strategy would be exported to other states. Ultimately, we beat Measure 105 by nearly a 30 point margin!
I am so proud that Oregon voters rejected the politics of division.
Although we saw some incredible success around the country, we can have the strongest impact when focusing on local and statewide transformation. We will continue to demonstrate that Oregon can be an inspiration to the rest of the country in regard to public policy and social change. We will continue to evolve in the ways that are necessary based our troubling national political landscape. But, we must resist the temptation to think that election results will be the primary answer.
Looking forward to 2019, we can capitalize on the momentum gained from those campaign wins and pivot from a defensive posture to offensive one. We are building a larger, stronger, and more diverse movement capable of extraordinary things. We are entering the 2019 legislative session with a proactive agenda focused on advancing immigrant rights, gender equity, criminal justice reform, and other critical issues.
I am writing you with a profound sense of hope. I am inspired by the ways our members and allies are mobilizing, by the strength and savvy of our legislative advocacy, by the impact of our litigation work, and by the power of our coalition-building.
Trump has been casting a shadow on our country and our state, but together we are bringing the light and the love.
I hope you share our excitement and understand fully what you helped make happen. Thank you for standing with us when we have so much more work to do.
Oregonians are the heart of our movement. There are ACLU members in every county in the state. And since the election of President Trump, our membership has swelled. There is power in these numbers. Together we have done amazing things to defend and advance civil liberties and civil rights.
ICE LEGAL OBSERVERS
Our volunteer-led legal observer program was formed to monitor police and protester interactions. Following an increase in Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests at the Washington County courthouse, a new group of ICE legal observers was formed. These volunteers are at the courthouse every week to monitor ICE. Federal immigration agents with ICE, dressed in street clothes, have been observed arresting people at the courthouse. They frequently fail to identify themselves and have never produced a warrant despite our volunteers’ requests.
Our ICE legal observers have filmed many disturbing encounters which always end with someone being stuffed into the back of an unmarked car and sped away. Notably, our observers also filmed federal agents surrounding and questioning Isidro Andrade-Tafolla, a Latino man who is a naturalized U.S. citizen and has worked for the county for 20 years. This troubling encounter happened at the same time that interfaith groups were protesting ICE at the courthouse, so media were also present. The resulting news stories helped shed light on ICE’s dangerous and racist tactics and led to an inquiry by members of Oregon’s congressional delegation. Our legal team also filed a lawsuit to force out documents to reveal ICE activity in our state.
WE THE PEOPLE CONFERENCE
During these challenging times, people from across the state have reached out to get involved with the ACLU’s fight for civil liberties and civil rights with the ACLU. We were proud to hold a statewide membership conference in June called the “We the People” Conference. Over 200 people came together in Salem to learn about important issues in Oregon and gain new skills to bring back to their communities! It was an wonderful day filled activist networking, workshops, and panel discussions, plus a keynote speech from immigrant rights leader Maru Mora Villalpondo.
THEY REPORT TO YOU
They Report to You, in conjunction with the ACLU’s nationwide Smart Justice campaign, works to educate Oregonians about our elected district attorneys’ (DAs) powerful position in the criminal justice system, and to activate voters to push them to adopt policies and practices to create a more fair and just criminal justice system for everyone. Though Oregon’s DAs are elected, they don’t often interact with voters and our project aims to change that.
This spring, we shined a light on two DA races in Washington and Marion counties. Through voter education and mobilization, including public forums with DA candidates, justice-minded voters were able to advocate for forward-thinking reforms and learn more about where candidates stood.
DEFEATING MEASURES 105 AND 106
Through an unprecedented mobilization effort, plus strong and inspirational coalitions, Oregonians soundly defeated two ballot measures with serious civil rights and civil liberties implications. The measures attempted to throw out a 31-year-old anti-racial profiling law and to limit abortion access.
We launched a field department with temporary campaign offices in Portland and Eugene. The goal was to build long-term power by organizing members to establish a culture of engagement and skill building, while getting out the vote on the ballot measures. We were blown away by the response from our members and supporters on these critical fights. Volunteers led difficult conversations with neighbors, held fundraisers, wrote letters to the editor, and organized local postcard parties.
Additionally, in rural areas of the state, volunteers engaged through our People Power network. The online infrastructure gave Oregonians the ability to take part in voter outreach by making calls from their homes and writing postcards to voters.
We also connected with voters via a mail campaign and through a set of powerful digital ads. The digital ads lifted the voices of Oregon immigrants, and helped voters understand what was at stake with Measure 105.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT BY THE NUMBERS
238885POSTCARDS SENT FROM ACLU VOLUNTEERS TO VOTERS
POSTCARDS SENT FROM ACLU VOLUNTEERS TO VOTERS
64494CALLS MADE TO OREGON VOTERS
CALLS MADE TO OREGON VOTERS
25887VOTER DOORS KNOCKED
VOTER DOORS KNOCKED
20159TEXT MESSAGES SENT
TEXT MESSAGES SENT
2TEMPORARY CAMPAIGN OFFICES
TEMPORARY CAMPAIGN OFFICES
POLICY / LEGISLATIVE
Our legislative work enables us to stop or amend laws and policies hostile to civil liberties as well as to champion progressive policies that advance the rights of all Oregonians. Our team lobbies the legislature, analyzes proposed legislation, and drafts and presents testimony. We also monitor city and county proposals for major civil liberties violations.
NET NEUTRALITY PROTECTIONS PASSED
When President Trump’s FCC gutted net neutrality regulations nationally, we worked hard with our allies to pass a bill to protect the rights of internet users in Oregon. House Bill 4155 requires Oregon agencies to only contract with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that provide net-neutral internet service to all of their customers. Customers can then find out who these providers are and then choose to get service through them. Without net neutrality protections, our rights and the vitality of of the internet are threatened, allowing ISPs to use their gatekeeper position to speed, slow, or block communication and services on the internet based on who can pay, who they disagree with, or for any other reason. We became the second state in the country to take action on net neutrality through its legislature, which is important because equal access to the internet is crucial to free speech and democracy.
PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF CRIMINAL DEFENDANTS
One of our major priorities was House Bill 4149, which addresses harmful and unjust waivers of rights that some Oregon district attorneys have included in plea agreements and jail release agreements. In its final form, the bill prohibits the requirement that a criminal defendant waive their right to appear at their trial as a condition of their release from jail. The right to be present at trial, where our liberty and substantial rights are at risk, is an essential part of the due process of law required by the Constitution. Waivers of those rights strike at the due process in our justice system.
FIGHTING TO KEEP PORTLAND OUT OF THE FBI TASK FORCE
Portlanders have long expressed concerns with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) as it entangles local officers in surveillance and police practices that violate the state laws that protect Oregonians from being targeted based on our political, religious, or social views, or based on our real or perceived immigration status. Now, under a president who has made it clear he will target people based on their religion (Muslims), national origin (immigrants), and political beliefs (protesters/Black Lives Matter), it is more important than ever to stop participating in the federal government’s dragnet surveillance and spy program.
In coalition, ACLU supporters pressured Portland City Council to withdraw from the JTTF. Portland Police officers simply cannot comply with Oregon law while also operating as deputized JTTF agents. Furthermore, these officers operate without local oversight, as neither their supervisors, the city attorney, nor the mayor have the security clearance needed to monitor their work. The council has not yet taken action on this important issue.
EXPOSING AMAZON’S FACIAL RECOGNITION PROGRAM IN WASHINGTON COUNTY
Amazon entered the surveillance business, and one of their first customers was the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Amazon’s product, Rekognition, is facial recognition software that has the power to identify people in real time, in photos of large groups of people, and in crowded events and public places. Facial recognition automates mass surveillance, threatens people’s freedom to live their private lives outside the government’s gaze, and is primed to amplify bias and inequality in the criminal justice system.
We obtained documents through a Freedom of Information Act request with the ACLU of Northern California and revealed that the Washington County Sheriff’s Office built a database of at least 300,000 mugshot photos to use in coordination with Rekognition. It also built a mobile app for its deputies to quickly scan for a match against the county’s database by submitting images obtained from surveillance or other sources.
FIGHTING PANHANDLING ORDINANCES STATEWIDE
We sent letters to 61 Oregon cities and towns as part of a national effort coordinated by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, urging officials to repeal unconstitutional and misguided bans on panhandling in their jurisdictions. The letters detailed how the existing ordinances violate free speech protections in the Oregon and U.S. Constitutions, explained the moral and practical problems with criminalizing poverty, and suggested compassionate alternatives to these laws. Anti-panhandling ordinances do not solve Oregon’s housing crisis or cure poverty or any of the myriad other challenges that lead people into homelessness. Instead, criminalizing homelessness and poverty exacerbates the underlying causes leading to homelessness and poverty.
Local leaders of jurisdictions with anti-panhandling laws from across the state – from cities as large as Medford and Springfield to towns as small as Adams and Chiloquin – are now on notice that they are violating the the rights of homeless Oregonians in their communities. We asked them to immediately stop enforcing anti-panhandling ordinances, to quickly take these ordinances off their books, to dismiss all pending prosecutions or citations under the ordinances, and to develop new approaches that will lead to better outcomes for all of their community members regardless of housing status.
POLICY BY THE NUMBERS
26BILLS ACTIVELY LOBBIED
BILLS ACTIVELY LOBBIED
17TESTIMONIES AT HEARINGS
TESTIMONIES AT HEARINGS
7BILLS SUPPORTED THAT PASSED
BILLS SUPPORTED THAT PASSED
3BILLS LOBBIED AGAINST THAT DIED
BILLS LOBBIED AGAINST THAT DIED
We work in the courts to defend people’s rights and demand adherence to the rule of law by the government. In addition to litigation, our legal team uses strategic demand letters, public records requests, and media work to force government actors to rethink their approach and uphold the rights of all Oregonians.
RIGHTS OF LGBTQ STUDENTS
In February, the ACLU, ACLU of Oregon, and Basic Rights Oregon teamed up to stop a meritless lawsuit filed against the Dallas School District and other state and federal officials. The suit attempted to end the district’s policy that protects transgender students from discrimination when using facilities like bathrooms and locker rooms at school. In July, after we brought in ACLU staff attorney Gabriel Arkles to argue against the case in federal court, the judge sided with us, ruling Oregon’s public schools are not only permitted, but required, to treat transgender students equally under the law.
In the spring, we learned about the horrible treatment of LGBTQ students at North Bend High School on the Oregon Coast. Liv Funk and Hailey Smith, our fearless clients, came forward with stories about how they were harassed, threatened, bullied, and assaulted at school just for being who they are. Pleas from LGBTQ students there were dismissed and ignored by school authority figures, including from the principal who made students read the Bible as punishment, a school police officer who told our client she was going to hell, and a teacher who equated homosexuality with bestiality. We got involved and reached a sweeping settlement with the school that required the removal of the principal, the transfer of the police officer, anti-discrimination training, and state supervision.
Also, a transgender boy at Sutherlin High School was targeted in a mean-spirited lawsuit by another student claiming he and other transgender students shouldn’t be allowed to use facilities consistent with their gender identities. The brave student, Tyler, refused to back down or give away his rights and became our client. The plaintiffs then dropped their case.
IMMIGRANTS HELD AT SHERIDAN PRISON
Our country should be a beacon of hope for immigrants fleeing violence and persecution, but instead President Trump sent asylum seekers to Oregon’s federal prison. Lawyers were barred from visiting the detained immigrants, so we filed an emergency lawsuit to put an immediate end to the unconstitutional denial of attorney access. A judge sided with us and forced the government to allow attorneys in to see the detained men.
According to court documents, prison officials were told of the transfer just 24 hours before the immigrants were brought to the prison. 124 men from all over the world were locked three-to-a-cell-for up to 22 or 23 hours per day, forced to eat meals next to the open toilet in their cell, denied religiously appropriate meals or an adequate place to pray, denied religious clothing such as turbans, and provided inadequate medical care, among other concerns. The detained immigrants described mental anguish, thoughts of suicide, and fear and confusion over their treatment. Some were separated from their families.
Oregonians came together to protest the detention, create a respite network, provide pro bono legal help, and provide spiritual support to the immigrants and their families. We are proud to report that all of the detained immigrants were released or moved to more humane facilities.
STOPPING UNREASONABLE SEARCHES ON TRANSIT
We successfully represented community leader Ana del Rocío in her criminal case after she was arrested by TriMet officers who stopped her without cause and charged for fare evasion. Our argument focused on the illegality of TriMet stops, where officers and fare inspectors lack reasonable suspicion that a crime occurred. In September, a Multnomah County judge ruled that suspicion-free detentions of people outside of MAX trains violated the Oregon constitution. In October, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum decided not to appeal the ruling.
RIGHT TO MEDICAL CARE
The family of Silvia Lesama-Santos contacted us because she desperately needed a liver transplant but was denied because she was an undocumented immigrant. The 46-year-old mother of four has lived in Oregon for over three decades, and her health was in a steep decline due to the denial. We helped get media attention for the family’s story and there was a public outcry. Oregon Health and Science University quickly agreed to change their transplant policy so that every person in need can qualify for life-saving medical care.
RIGHTS OF PROTESTERS
Everybody has the right to protest freely and make their voices heard. At this crucial moment in our nation’s history, people are more often taking to the streets to express their viewpoints. In Portland, the response by police has often been highly militarized and heavy-handed. We’ve had been a busy year for in both federal and state courts as we defend that right for people who have been wrongly detained, brutalized, and arrested by the Portland Police Bureau. We believe this behavior has had a chilling effect on free speech in the city.
Late last year, we filed a federal class action lawsuit against the City of Portland on behalf of hundreds of people illegally detained downtown by police during a protest in June 2017. In Haber v. City of Portland, we documented that police used an unconstitutional tactic known as “kettling” where they stopped and surrounded nearly 400 people on a city block without individualized suspicion that they each committed a crime. Law enforcement eventually let them go, but only after photographing each person and their ID.
In March, we filed six separate protester lawsuits in state court against the City of Portland. Our clients were assaulted or battered at Portland City Hall in October 2016, at a youth-led protest following the November 2016 election, at an anti-Trump protest in February 2017, and at a counter protest to the June 2017 Patriot Prayer rally.
We demand better from our city and our police. Our response to protest should reflect our commitment to the power of free expression and our shared values of fairness, justice, and equality.
LEGAL BY THE NUMBERS
28307MOBILE JUSTICE APP DOWNLOADS
MOBILE JUSTICE APP DOWNLOADS
4550COOPERATING ATTORNEY HOURS
COOPERATING ATTORNEY HOURS
175HOURS OF PROTESTS OBSERVED
HOURS OF PROTESTS OBSERVED
104FOIA AND PUBLIC RECORDS REQUESTS
FOIA AND PUBLIC RECORDS REQUESTS
61LETTERS TO CITIES REGARDING ANTI-PANHANDLING ORDINANCES
LETTERS TO CITIES REGARDING ANTI-PANHANDLING ORDINANCES
18DIRECT REPRESENTATION CASES
DIRECT REPRESENTATION CASES
What people think of as the ACLU of Oregon is actually two organizations.
When someone becomes an ACLU member, they are contributing to the ACLU of Oregon which is our 501(c)4 non-profit. The revenue of our 501(c)4 has less lobbying and election-related restrictions on how we spend it, which is why those contributions are not tax-deductible. We also have a more traditional 501(c)3 non-profit, which is the ACLU Foundation of Oregon. Contributions to the Foundation are tax-deductible.
These organizations are affiliated and integrated and share the same Board of Directors and staff. Our financials are also consolidated so we are reporting on the combined revenue and expense breakdown for both organizations. Our fiscal year starts on April 1st and ends March 31st.
RELATIONSHIP WITH NATIONAL ACLU
Although the ACLU of Oregon is an independent organization, we are also a state affiliate of ACLU nationally. There is a historic and structured relationship between national ACLU and state affiliates. The overwhelming majority of our supporters want to advance civil liberties and civil rights work not only in their own state but also in the country at large. Therefore, if you live in Oregon, your contribution is split between state-based work and national work. This is true whether you give directly to the ACLU of Oregon or to ACLU nationally.
This relationship allows work on the ground in Oregon to thrive, while also ensuring the ACLU can move resources to critical and timely issues when needed whether it’s a strategic voting rights case in Kansas or North Carolina, an immigrant rights case in Texas, or a reproductive freedom case in Alabama. Having an on the ground presence in all 50 states also gives us the ability to create coordinated national campaigns that have incredible impact. That national reach has been instrumental in our successful efforts pushing back on Trump’s policy attacks.
GROWTH IN RESOURCES
ACLU of Oregon ended the last fiscal year with a surplus for just the fourth time in over a decade. This surplus was driven by an incredible growth in membership and an outpouring of support in response to the Trump presidency. We are deeply appreciative and recognize why we are on the receiving end of such generosity. The ACLU is truly rising to this moment waging a powerful, strategic, and multi-faceted effort to defend against the daily attacks on civil rights and civil liberties coming from the Trump Administration.
To be clear, the ACLU of Oregon’s board is taking an all-in approach to spending our resources to strengthen our program impact in the Trump era. In fact, over the past year we have doubled our staff and invested heavily to ensure Oregon successfully defeated both the anti-immigrant and anti-abortion ballot measures this past election. We are building out our capacity with a sense of urgency, and are producing phenomenal results. This is a transformative moment for the country and the ACLU. This report demonstrates the incredible difference you are making with your support.
WAYS TO GIVE
For 63 years, the commitment of scores of ACLU supporters has helped protect the freedoms that we enjoy today. By making a gift, in any of the following ways, you can ensure that the ACLU of Oregon has the resources needed to ensure that the rights and protections of the Constitution will be made real for everyone.
CHECK OR CREDIT CARDS: Make an annual, monthly, or quarterly tax-deductible gift to the ACLU Foundation via mail or online at aclu-or.org/donate.
WORKPLACE GIVING: Designate the ACLU Foundation as the recipient of a workplace gift through your employer’s giving campaign. Check with your employer if charitable gifts are matched to maximize your gift.
BEQUESTS: Designate the ACLU or the ACLU Foundation as a beneficiary of your estate through your irrevocable living trust or in your will.
GIFT ANNUITIES: Make a gift of cash or securities to the ACLU Foundation. You could receive fixed annual payments for life as well as a tax deduction.
STOCK, SECURITIES, MUTUAL FUND: Make a gift of appreciated stock, securities, or mutual fund shares directly to the ACLU Foundation that could provide tax advantages.
CHARITABLE TRUST: Establish a trust that benefits the ACLU Foundation while providing tax advantages as well as financial planning options for your family.
DONOR ADVISED FUND: Put your donor advised fund to use by protecting civil liberties and civil rights by recommending gifts to the ACLU of Oregon. Your financial advisor or fund manager can help you make that grant to the ACLU of Oregon.
For more information on ways to support the ACLU, contact Shelly Hunter, the Director of Development, at (503) 552-2101 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that the provided information is not intended to be tax or legal advice.