Lane County Chapter

Who We Are

The Lane County chapter of the ACLU of Oregon seeks to protect and promote civil liberties in Lane County. We work locally to further the mission of the ACLU of Oregon. The ACLU believes that the freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people. Within this broad framework, we focus on the specific strategic priorities of the ACLU of Oregon: immigrant rights, police practices and digital privacy. We study emerging civil liberties issues; host events in Lane County in order to increase awareness of civil liberties issues; we monitor the activities of local government agencies; and we protest local civil liberties violations and celebrate advances in human rights.

Legal Requests: Our chapter does not handle request for legal help. If you believe your rights have been violated, please call the ACLU of Oregon Legal Request Line 888-527-ACLU (2258) or fill out the online legal request form on this website. 


WANTED: Lane County Chapter Board Members

ACLU supporters who want to become more involved are encouraged to explore joining the Lane County Chapter board. Board members meet monthly to identify civil liberties issues of local concern and develop plans to address them. We coordinate outreach to the community, and collaborate with partners to promote policies that uphold the constitutional rights of everyone countywide.

To be considered for a board position, please submit your responses to the following questions by email to the Lane County chapter:

•  Provide your contact information (including full name, telephone number, and email address).
•  Why are you interested in working with the American Civil Liberties Union?
•  Tell us about your history of community involvement (in Lane County and beyond). We are particularly interested in activities related to promoting civil liberties and civil rights.
•  Share any other knowledge, experience, and skills you bring to the table.
•  Share any other information you wish to provide.
•  Are you currently a member of the ACLU? (Candidates must become current members by the time they officially join the board.)



A Civil Conversation: Miranda Rights in the Age of Terrorism

When Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arrested for the Boston Marathon bombings, the American public learned that his Miranda rights had been suspended because of a little-known public safety exception which allows for limited questioning to defuse imminent threats. How has the law and the rights of the people been altered in the wake of terrorism? What is terrorism and how has our understanding of terrorism, human rights, and the law changed over the last decade? Please join the Lane County Chapter for a conversation about this current and important issue. Facilitated by Lauren Regan, founder and executive director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC).

A Civil Conversation
High-Tech Surveillance and the Fourth Amendment

Facilitated by Carrie Leonetti, Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon's School of Law.

Privacy in the 21st Century

Special guests: Kyu Ho Youm, professor and the Jonathan Marshall First Amendment Chair at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication and Becky Straus, legislative director for the ACLU of Oregon.

A Civil Conversation
Women's Health and Reproductive Rights

Our Civil Conversation on efforts to limit women’s health and reproductive rights was held at the new Planned Parenthood Health Center in Springfield. There was considerable concern about the direction federal and state government bodies are taking to subvert these rights -- going beyond the usual attacks on legal access to abortion. A good deal of the discussion focused on the seriousness of failing to recognize the public health implications of eroding preventive healthcare services. Comingling banning abortion with eliminating sex education and services to sexually active youths will, in the long run, entail far greater costs than continued funding for these programs. Viewed from a much broader landscape, attacks on women’s healthcare (including preventative) seem consistent with keeping women at a socioeconomic disadvantage.

A Civil Conversation
Gun Rights: Is There a Resolution?

On February 13, the Civil Conversation featured Margie Parris of the University of Oregon School of Law as facilitator for a discussion of “Gun Rights: Is There a Resolution?” After reviewing the legal status of various state and federal laws relevant to the Supreme Court’s recent gun rights opinion, the conversation focused on how a resolution of the extreme positions might take place. “Responsible gun rights” entails developing a mechanism for assuring the safety for others. As one gun enthusiast noted, he is not represented by the views of either of the extreme positions; no one today speaks for his interests. Many of the participants agreed that a framework for responsible gun ownership must include actively ensuring the safety of others and supporters of responsible ownership need to become as organized in advancing their position as the opposing extremes have been.


A Civil Conversation
Is Housing a Right?

The first Civil Conversation for 2013 was held on January 11th. Michael Carrigan from the Citizens Alliance of Lane County, presented and facilitated the discussion. Among the 25 attendees were many of Eugene homeless activists. Police actions against the homeless in Eugene have become a big issue as reflected in the discussion. In addition to being very informative about the extent of the problem, examples of actions that ACLU might support were numerous. Chief among these was making contact with City Council members sympathetic to this human rights issue.

A Civil Conversation
The Bill of Rights in Today's World

On December 6th, Lane Chapter of ACLU Oregon held its fifth and last Civil Conversation for 2012 at the Junction City High School. The topic was how the Bill of Rights is relevant in the present day. David Fidanque was the facilitator for the fifteen attendees ranging from high school students to a social security vet. Although the turnout was small, this event was particularly important because it brought the face of ACLU to a community in Lane County not usually exposed to the aims and work of ACLU in protecting rights. David was a fount of knowledge that both meshed with students’ studies of constitutional history and also highlighted how protecting the rights of some protects the rights of all. Special thanks to Gary Crum and Steve Rowland (publisher of the Junction City Tribune) for their support of our bringing this Civil Conversation to Junction City. The request for future events like this one for their community was especially gratifying.

A Civil Conversation
r Civil Liberties & Civil Rights - Election Winner or Loser?

The fourth in the series of A Civil Conversation was held Monday, November 12, 2012, for the pleasure of 32 attendees. Mayor Kitty Piercy was the facilitator of the post-election, fast-paced, but extremely well-informed discussion of the extent of progress made, and that hoped for, in light of this election. In no small measure having David Fidanque present added to the cogency of the discussion.

One recurring theme was how to make awareness of our civil rights relevant to the youth of our country. There was considerable emphasis on the importance of helping young people become active in fomenting social change. It was an unmistakable portrait of Eugenian’s reputation for expressing their concerns on all sorts of rights-related issues. Having the Mayor present only encouraged a wider expression of  how we must confront injustices with fact-based remedies. A most stimulating evening in a very welcoming venue.

A Civil Conversation
Patriot Act & National Defense Authorization Act: Are We Safe and Free?

Sept Civil Conversation

Lane Chapter of ACLU held the third in its series of A Civil Conversation on September 11, 2012 - appropriately dealing with the Patriot Act and Government inroads on privacy. Greg Hazarabedian, member of both Oregon ACLU and Lane Chapter boards led a lively and appreciative audience, aided and abetted by David Fidanque, who also was in attendance. Greg incisively described how our privacy has been eroded while ironically at the expense of making the country more secure. David also added insights into ongoing ACLU cases. Once again, with 30 plus people in attendance, the relevance of ACLU for individual freedom was apparent to all.

A Civil Conversation
Freedom of Religion: What Does Separation of Church and State Mean to You?

On August 14, the second Civil Conversation dealing with separation of church and state took place. On a miserably hot August evening, it was, nonetheless, extremely well received. Dan Bryant, Senior minister at the First Christian Church Disciples of Christ, provided an ongoing informative review of little known historical facts about the evolving nexus of religion and government. The 24 participants were outspoken in their concerns about who the winners and losers were when religious organizations and governmental functionaries muddy the Constitutionally mandated separation of church and state. The combination of expressed personal frustration together with the current failures of separation produced many thoughtful suggestions for fostering the intended separation. In a word: it was a very enlightening event that also generated expressions of appreciation for ACLU's hosting it.

A Civil ConversationJuly - Second Tuesday Civil Conversation
Exclusion Zone and Public Spaces: Controlling Crime or Banishing Undesirable People?

The Lane County chapter held its first Civil Conversation on July 10, 2012 with an overflow attendance at a local Café Yumm. The issue discussed was the Exclusion Zone for an area in downtown Eugene. Exclusion zones have been hotly debated in Portland and Eugene and ACLU of Oregon has an official position on it. How the homeless are being dealt with is a particular interest of our attendees, as well as the issue of due process. Various strategies for influencing the governmental policy makers were considered and examined civilly. Heather Marek presented the issue and held us on topic.

Churchill High School's GSAFor the 2012 Annual Meeting, held February 25 in the EWEB Training Room, we set the bar high for change and justice in Lane County and the state of Oregon. This year's theme was Pride and Prejudice: Fighting for Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered Rights in Oregon. We heard from Basic Rights Oregon and from local high school Gay Straight Alliances in their efforts to progress equality throughout Oregon.





Past Eugene Celebration Parade Entries

2011 Eugene Celebration