Thank You For Being a Friend!

March 4, 2015 - Thanks to the generosity of our friends and community, our February 27th Liberty Dinner was a tremendous success. Funds raised will support our work to ensure that Oregon is a place that represents and values the rights of all people.  View more photos on Facebook.


Oregon's Privacy Laws Need an Update

by Sarah Armstrong, Outreach Director

Privacy Equals FreedomWe are asking lawmakers to update Oregon's privacy laws and we need your help! Join us for ACLU’s Privacy Day in Salem on Monday, March 16 to help strengthen Oregon's privacy protections and limit the use of dragnet surveillance. 

We have worked with bipartisan support on package of bills to curb mass surveillance. Help to ensure that these important bills have a voice in the legislature by joining us in Salem for ACLU's Privacy Day. 


Face to face meetings with legislators are incredibly powerful – and incredibly effective. We need your help to advocate for:

•    SB 639 - Strict guidelines for the use of automatic license plate readers (ALPR) 

•    SB 640 - A warrant requirement to access email, phone, and location records 

•    SB 641 - A warrant requirement to search cell phones


Consistent with the National Trend, Governor Brown Maintains Moratorium on Executions

February 20, 2015 - During her first news conference since taking office as governor, Kate Brown said that Oregon's death penalty system deserves broader discussion and she intends to continue the moratorium on executions that has been in place since 2011.

“There needs to be a broader discussion about fixing the system. Until that discussion I am upholding the moratorium . . . imposed by Gov. Kitzhaber.”

David Fidanque, executive director of the ACLU of Oregon, said Gov. Brown’s announcement represents a common sense approach to a difficult and emotional issue. 

“Oregon’s death penalty system is riddled with both practical and constitutional problems,” Fidanque said, “not the least of which is that our state’s method of execution – lethal injection – has led to botched executions elsewhere in the nation and is currently under review by the U.S. Supreme Court. Regardless of the outcome of that case, Oregon’s system provides neither dependable outcomes nor justice.”


ACLU Urges Gov. Kitzhaber to Commute Entire Death Row

February 17, 2015 - With less than 24 hours before Governor John Kitzhaber’s resignation, we call upon the Governor to commute the death sentences of every inmate on Oregon’s death row to life without parole.

Here's the text of the letter we sent to Governor Kitzhaber:

Dear Governor Kitzhaber,

On behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, and our thousands of members and supporters throughout the state, I implore you to use your constitutional authority as Governor to commute the capital sentences of the thirty-four men and one woman currently on Oregon’s death row to sentences of life without the possibility of parole.


Gresham Cop Snatches Phone From Observer During Live Broadcast

Police Violated Free Speech and Free Press Rights During Unlawful Search and Detention of Livestreamer

February 11, 2015 - Carrie Medina firmly believes that police should always act as they would if they knew there was a camera on them. She made it a point to film police encounters she witnessed.

In February 2013, while riding the bus home from work, she heard someone exclaim, “Ooh, that must’ve hurt!” and looked outside to see two police officers arresting a young man. She got off the bus to observe the police activity and started a livestream video with her phone. Watch the video.

Medina was no stranger to livestreaming. She got her start during the Occupy Portland protests and had soon gathered a group of dedicated viewers. With donations from her supporters to help cover expenses, she had also traveled to protests in D.C. and Chicago to livestream video.

“Livestreamers” have played an important role in recent protests both by attracting large audiences in real time and also by capturing moments that can go “viral” afterwards. For example, over 750,000 viewers tuned in live to see the violent eviction of the Occupy Wall Street protestors. And recently in Ferguson, Missouri, livestreaming journalists shared video of the militarized police response toward protestors that shocked the nation.

By the time Carrie Medina was off the bus and in place to video, the young man being arrested was already in handcuffs. She stood several yards away broadcasting and narrating the events. She started to feel that the police were paying her a lot of attention and she backed even further away. That’s when Officer Letsis walked up to her and asked to see her video.


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.