For the first time in 46 years, Washington County has a contested district attorney race. Kevin Barton and Max Wall are running to replace retiring DA Bob Hermann. The new DA will become the most important criminal justice figure in Oregon’s second largest county.
 
The ACLU of Oregon has thousands of members in Washington County. To be sure our members have a chance to get the facts about this important race and the role of district attorneys, we have joined with Unite Oregon and the Coalition for Communities of Color to host a candidate forum
 
Daniel Lewkow, manager of the ACLU of Oregon’s They Report to You campaign, said “This is the most important race for criminal justice in Oregon. People disproportionately harmed by our criminal justice system deserve opportunities to hear from the candidates and get their questions answered.”
 
  • Washington County District Attorney Candidate Forum
  • Saturday, May 5th: doors open at 10 a.m., forum from 10:30 to noon.
  • Free. Open to the public.
  • Hillsboro Civic Center Auditorium, 150 E. Main St, Hillsboro.
  • Sponsors: The ACLU of Oregon, the Coalition of Communities of Color, Unite Oregon.
We invited the two candidates on the Washington County ballot – Kevin Barton and Max Wall – to participate in the forum. Barton, currently the Washington County Chief Deputy District Attorney, has declined the invitation. Wall has agreed to attend.
 
The DA candidate forum will still be held on Saturday morning at the Hillsboro Civic Center auditorium. The invitation to Barton still stands, should he change his mind.
 
Barton told OPB on Wednesday that the reason he won’t attend Saturday’s forum is because “a small group of demonstrators recently showed up outside the Washington County Courthouse holding signs supportive of Wall and handing out ACLU literature.”
 
The small demonstration Barton referred to occurred earlier this year and was independently organized by a group of mothers and grandmothers who lost loved ones to police violence. As seen above in this post, the “literature” they handed out was an educational flier about the role of district attorneys, created and published for our They Report to You campaign long before there was a contested race in Washington County. It makes no mention of Kevin Barton, Max Wall, or Washington County, nor does it direct people to vote in any particular way. 
 
“The group and its action that day had no affiliation with the ACLU of Oregon, and we told Kevin that as soon as he brought it to our attention,” Lewkow said. “Kevin can decline our invitation to the forum for whatever reason he wants, but it is disappointing to hear that he is spreading misinformation about this protest as a basis for his decline. That said, we are keeping a seat open for him because we hope he will change his mind and decide to attend this important forum centered on communities of color, immigrant communities, and other people impacted by the criminal justice system.”
 
The ACLU of Oregon is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization that does not endorse or oppose any candidate for office. We are engaging in this work to promote voter education because so much is at stake in Washington County. 
 
“We advocate for values, not candidates,” Lewkow said. The ACLU’s values include vigorous defense of civil liberties and civil rights, racial justice, and criminal justice reforms. 
 
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