Lining Up at the Gates of the Oregon Supreme Court

Justice continues to be denied in Oregon. Community rights efforts in Lane and Lincoln counties have, quite wrongly, found themselves mired in the Oregon court system on issues that should’ve been considered and resolved by the people of their respective counties. In both instances petitions for consideration have been submitted to the Oregon Supreme Court.

Lincoln County Community Rights (LCCR) is shouldering the cause for the people and ecosystems of their community to have a ban on aerial spray of pesticides reinstated on the grounds that their law is more protective than the state minimum. The chemicals used by the industrial timber corporate entities that lord over the private and state forests in Oregon have been known for decades to be toxic to humans and the broader ecosystem. Despite indisputable evidence, the industry-written state laws claim that what is taking place with pesticide applications is “safe,” and as such the state has sole power to dictate the rules of engagement. That assertion is what LCCR is asking to challenge, with CELDF’s assistance, in front of the Oregon Supreme Court. Joining them, ideally, would be the Siletz River watershed who was denied entry into the case despite having recognized rights in the locally-adopted law that originally went into effect in June 2017.

In Lane County,  Community Rights Lane County has fought for deeply-set core democratic rights, with legal support from CELDF, on two duly qualified initiatives. One initiative secures a right to be free from aerial sprayed herbicides. The other advanced a right of local community self-government to strengthen state protections for the environment. Both have been denied ballot access. The denial comes from an invented, never before applied substantive review process. Community Rights Lane County is fighting something heinous: efforts to take away the ability to vote all together. The courts have assumed — by their own appointment — power over the political process that rightfully belongs to the people. 

Both Lane and Lincoln counties are looking for amicus curiae  (“friends of the court” briefs) to support their efforts. They are also seeking donations to support the costs associated with their cases. Contact: communityrightslanecounty.org; lincolncountycommunityrights.org; kai@celdf.org.

Playing Demolition Derby with Our Democratic Rights

On October 6th Northwest organizer Kai Huschke and attorney Terry Lodge from CELDF presented on the realities of what is happening in Lane and Lincoln counties and how they are connected to much bigger and deeper issues surrounding democratic rights and where the power to govern resides. The 90-minute “Playing Demolition Derby with Our Democratic Rights” event was hosted by the Oregon Community Rights Network. It covered backgrounds on citizen initiatives and state ceiling preemption, how barriers have been and continue to be erected to deny the power of the people, and ultimately what that means for the health and prosperity for people and ecosystems. It was a robust mix of presentations, conversations between Kai and Terry, and engagement with the audience on matters of keen importance for Oregon but also the whole country. A video of the event can be found at the YouTube channel for the Oregon Community Rights Network.

Photo by Katie Musial on Unsplash