Legislation

The ACLU of Oregon often takes positions on state, city, and county proposals that would have an impact on civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU is strictly non-partisan; we never support or oppose candidates for elective office.

Local Government

The ACLU of Oregon often takes positions on city, county and other local government ordinances, policies and practices that have an impact on civil liberties and civil rights.

ACLU of Oregon Supports Eugene's Ordinance for Protection of Individuals

A version of this testimony was delivered to the Eugene City Council by Bonnie Souza. Written testimony was also submitted.

March 13, 2017 - Over the years, the city of Eugene has made it clear through multiple resolutions related to human rights, and in support of refugees and immigrants, that it strives to be a welcoming and inclusive city.

The proposed ordinance aligns with those values and takes a concrete step to ensure that city resources are not used in ways contrary to those values. The ordinance is an important legal tool to ensure protections for people who live, work, or visit Eugene and who are, or may be perceived to be, immigrants.

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Portland Should Stay Out of FBI's Spy Program

UPDATE: February 20, 2015 - The Portland City Council voted 3-2 to rejoin the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). The council will consider the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the FBI on February 25. We will call on Council to require changes to the MOU before it is approved.

Since 2005, when Portland ended its full participation in the JTTF, the Police Bureau has cooperated with the FBI only on a case-by-case basis. We strongly supported the City’s decision because of the FBI’s long history of targeting people in terrorism investigations based primarily on their political and/or religious beliefs.

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Stronger Accountability Measures Needed in Portland Police Settlement Agreement

ACLU Submits Comments to Federal Court in Anticipation of February Hearing

February 3, 2014 - On Friday the ACLU submitted comments to the federal court in support of a Settlement Agreement between Portland Police Bureau, the City of Portland, and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the Portland Police’s unconstitutional practice of using excessive force against people with mental illness or experiencing mental health crisis. The comments come at the request of Judge Michael Simon, who on February 18th will hold a Fairness Hearing in his courtroom to determine whether the pending Settlement Agreement is fair and adequate to address the claims made by the DOJ after a lengthy investigation.

The Settlement Agreement is by no means perfect. We share concerns with other community advocates for police reform that the Agreement does not adequately address needed changes to the system of accountability for officer misconduct. And we fear that without stronger “teeth,” even the modest changes to the Portland Police that are mandated in the Agreement will never be implemented. 

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ACLU Urges Lake Oswego to Consider Alternative Agreement With FBI

April 16, 2013 - Lake Oswego City Council is set to vote on a proposal to join the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) this evening, without discussion. The ACLU is urging the Council to postpone the vote until more details on the agreement between local law enforcement and the FBI can be reviewed.

UPDATE: April 17, 2013 - The Lake Oswego City Council voted unanimously to join the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

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The efforts to improve communication and cooperation among law enforcement agencies, including between the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies, is important. As yesterday’s events in Boston have once again illustrated, such cooperation can be essential to protect public safety. However, the FBI and other federal agencies operate under very different laws and policies than state and local police agencies are required to follow here in Oregon.

Unfortunately, the FBI’s standard agreement for participation by local agencies in their Joint Terrorism Task Forces does not make any accommodation for those different standards and requirements. Indeed, that standard agreement makes it extremely likely that local police officers, once deputized as members of the FBI JTTF, will engage in activities that violate the important protections and safeguards of Oregon law and the Oregon Constitution.

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Portland Police Draft Revisions to Use of Force Policies, Release Settlement with DOJ

UPDATE - The City of Portland, PPB, and USDOJ have reached agreement on the terms of their settlement. The ACLU has reviewed this agreement and presented testimony at the City Council hearing on November 1.

October 25, 2012 - Prompted by a condemning report by the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ), which found that the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) has engaged in systemic overuse of force particularly against persons with mental illness, PPB drafted revisions to its policies on Use of Force, Use of Deadly Force, and Tasers. PPB posted these drafts for comment and the ACLU of Oregon has responded with detailed recommendations for improvement.

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ACLU and Allies Weigh in on DOJ Investigation of Portland Police Bureau

September 27, 2012 - The ACLU of Oregon and our allies in police accountability advocacy submitted detailed recommendations to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), urging comprehensive reforms to the policies and practices of the Portland Police Bureau (PPB). The recommendations were compiled in response to a September 12th report from DOJ, concluding that PPB employs unnecessary and excessive use of force on persons with mental illness. DOJ invited members of the community to provide input as to the terms of an agreement between DOJ and the City of Portland regarding reforms the PPB will undertake. The stated deadline for finalizing the agreement is October 12th.

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Automatic License Plate Readers: More Cameras in More Places

UPDATE: July 25, 2012 - After first adopting an amendment from Commissioner Amanda Fritz to require the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) to report back to Council on an annual basis about their use of Automatic License Plate Recognition cameras (ALPR), the Portland City Council this morning approved PPB’s request to add a new SUV to their fleet with an ALPR.

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ACLU Urges Portland Police Bureau to Narrow Surveillance Camera Policy

UPDATE - June 6, 2012 -  After a second reading and with no discussion, today the City Council approved the proposal relating to surveillance cameras. Commissioner Fritz voted no on the proposal, citing concerns that unless the rest of the Council would join her in adopting an amendment to the proposal that would require annual reporting on the use of surveillance cameras by the Portland Police, she could not support their increased use. We continue to advocate for the Portland Police Bureau to revise their video surveillance policy in accordance with our comments.

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Privacy Questions Delay Vote on Surveillance Cameras

May 9, 2012 - The Portland City Council this morning postponed a vote on a proposal that, if approved, would enable increased use of surveillance cameras by the Portland Police Bureau.

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Portland and the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force

Annual JTTF Report Still Lacks Important Details

March 27, 2013 - ACLU of Oregon Executive Director David Fidanque testified before Portland City Council urging them to reject the recently released Portland Police Bureau's (PPB) Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) Report. The report contains few details , "... not enough detail to truly inform the public of the nature of PPB’s participation on the JTTF – certainly not enough to compel anyone to point to Portland as a model of transparency," Fidanque said.

The City Council voted to accept the report in a 3-2 vote despite concerns by many of the commissioners over the lack of information contained in the report.

Final Portland Reports on JTTF Greatly Improved, But…

February 29, 2012 – Significantly modified reports on the City of Portland’s relationship with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) were approved by the City Council after the ACLU’s testified they were greatly improved, but still lacked data that would permit the public to independently confirm that Oregon law and the Constitution are being honored by the City.

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