Executive Director David Fidanque to Retire After 33 Years With ACLU

December 30, 2014 - Long-time executive director David Fidanque will retire on March 31, 2015. Fidanque, who turned 65 last summer, became the organization’s director in 1993 and first joined its staff in 1982.

ACLU of Oregon Board President Jennifer Middleton, said the ACLU of Oregon has grown in size, effectiveness and influence throughout Oregon under Fidanque’s tenure.

“The ACLU plays a leadership role on a host of civil liberties and civil rights issues and Dave Fidanque has played an integral role in all of them, including free expression, reproductive freedom, racial justice, police practices, government surveillance and individual privacy,” Middleton said.


Top 8 Civil Liberties Moments of 2014

By Sarah Armstrong, Outreach Coordinator

Check out our top eight civil liberties moments in Oregon in 2014. Free speech, protection from unwarranted government snooping, ending the failed war on marijuana, marriage, and more. Wow, what a year! 

We are so thankful for your support. Here's to more great victories in 2015. Happy New Year, Oregon.

#8 - High School Student Stands Up for Free Speech in Scappoose

Long-time Scappoose High Dance Team member Marissa Harper and her mother were shocked to see a new policy that prohibited students and parents from any communication regarding any aspect of the dance team made “verbally or written via social media” or face punishment. As Oregonian reporter Helen Jung put it, "The first rule of Dance Team is you do not talk about Dance Team."

Marissa’s mother asked school officials to intervene, but when no changes were made she contacted us. Marissa made the tough choice to give up the dance team in order to stand up for free speech rights.

Our lawsuit got the school district’s attention and it quickly settled the case, agreeing that its social media policy had violated the free speech rights of students and their parents and running a written apology in their newsletter.

#7 - Oregon Case Goes All the Way to the U.S. Supreme Court

The “Jacksonville Protest Case” stemmed from the treatment of protestors in Oregon, not Florida! Way back in 2004, then-President Bush stopped for dinner in Jacksonville, a small town in southern Oregon. Secret Service agents directed police to move anti-Bush demonstrators several blocks away while at the same time allowing a group of pro-Bush demonstrators to remain. The police effort turned violent and officers used excessive force to move the demonstrators. 


Open Letter to Oregon District Attorneys

Criminal justice advocates and leaders call upon you to start now on implementing important drug policy reforms.

November 20, 2014 – Although Oregon voters passed Measure 91 with a 12-point margin, implementation of this better, smarter approach to marijuana policy will not be complete until the first half of 2016. We don't have to wait until then to start to mitigate the damage done by decades of criminalization, wasted law enforcement time and squandered taxpayer money.

Prosecutors in Oregon's largest county have already decided to dismiss, and stop prosecuting, marijuana-related offenses that would no longer exist under Measure 91. Other county prosecutors should follow Multnomah County's lead. 

A strong majority of Oregon voters have directed the state to stop treating marijuana as a crime and to better prioritize our limited law enforcement resources. With so many lives and so much money at stake, waiting would be unreasonable and clearly damaging to Oregon's communities. We should work quickly to limit the damage already caused by a feckless war against marijuana.

We urge you to cease enforcement of marijuana laws that will no longer exist when provisions of Measure 91 take effect in July.


ACLU Launches Police Watch App in Oregon

“Mobile Justice” app allows Oregonians to record video of police encounters, includes guide to rights
November 6,2014 – The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon today announced the release of a smartphone application that will allow users to take video of police encounters and quickly upload the video to the ACLU. It can also send an alert when a police stop is being recorded by another user nearby and provides helpful legal information about interacting with police.

“Police officers have a unique role and position within our society and they are given extraordinary powers,” said David Fidanque, executive director of the ACLU of Oregon. “Oregonians have the right to record video of police in public places as a check to those powers.”

Fidanque said that the app, known as “Mobile Justice,” is also being launched simultaneously by ACLU affiliates in Missouri, Mississippi, and Nebraska.  He said it is intended for use by people witnessing a police encounter, not by individuals who are the subject of a police stop. 


Oregonians Were Asked the Wrong Question on Driver Cards

Confusing ballot title obscured public safety intent of Measure 88

November 5, 2014 - Measure 88 would have increased public safety in Oregon by ensuring that all drivers who travel our roads have demonstrated safe driving and knowledge of the rules of the road – and can obtain liability insurance. This election has done nothing to eliminate the very real and very urgent need for all drivers to be licensed in our state. 

Our coalition knew from the beginning that this was going to be a very difficult campaign. A confusing and misleading ballot title obscured the public safety and community intent and actual effects of the law. We believe this measure, as it was described on the ballot, skewed voters against the underlying idea that anyone who drives on Oregon’s roads should be licensed, because the ballot title focused on individuals who lack “proof of legal presence in United States” and stirred up fears among many voters who thought it meant that some immigrants would be granted a special privilege.  

The purpose of the driver card law, passed with bipartisan support by Oregon lawmakers and signed by the Governor, was not to grant anyone special privileges, but to increase highway safety by extending the opportunity to obtain driving privileges to all Oregon residents by subjecting them to the same testing, registration and insurance requirements as all other drivers.


A Great Day for Seven Americans Formerly on the No-Fly List

By Noa Yachot, Communications Strategist, ACLU

An extraordinarily secret government blacklist just got a little bit less secret.

Seven American citizens who were banned by the government from air travel received word yesterday evening that they are cleared to fly. For them, the notice ends a years-long struggle to find out why they were blacklisted and clear their names. As of last night, the seven can finally make plans to visit family, travel for work, and take vacations abroad.

The seven – six men and one women – had been on the government No Fly List, which prevented them from flying to, from, and over U.S. airspace. Even after they were surrounded by TSA agents at the airport and questioned by the FBI, the government refused to officially confirm that they were included on the list. They were also never provided reasons for being banned from air travel, or given a meaningful opportunity to contest the ban. In short, our clients have been locked in a fight to regain their freedoms with virtually no information.