Right of Local Community Self Government Constitutional Amendment for Oregon Re-filed

An improved version of the amendment is ready for petition circulation
following the state’s rejection of an earlier version in July.

Friday, September 25, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Mary Geddry
marygeddry@gmail.com
541-551-1492
www.orcrn.org
http://www.oregoncommunityrights.org/

On the heals of filing of a nearly identical state constitutional amendment in Colorado, Oregonians for Community Rights (O4CR) has re-submitted a proposed constitutional amendment to the State of Oregon’s Elections Division that would secure the Right of Local Community Self-Government most specifically in placing community rights above corporate privilege.

The group had previously qualified a similar amendment initiative in the spring, but the Secretary of State made a determination in July that it did not clear certain requirements for broader petition circulation. Since July, the group chose to make a few changes to the amendment before refiling, though it still believes the state’s reasons for not accepting the older version would have been overturned by the courts.

Cleared Wednesday by the Secretary of State, O4CR will be out gathering the required 1,000 sponsorship signatures for the administrative review process to take place. The group is still aiming to be cleared for broader signature gathering to qualify for the November 2016 ballot.

The constitutional amendment is titled “The Right of Local Community Self-Government” and would codify into law the right of local community self-government, enabling the people and their local governments to protect fundamental rights and prohibit corporate activities that violate those rights. It would secure the authority of communities to put in place stronger rights and protections than those recognized at the state, federal, or international level.

“A growing number of communities in Oregon – let it be about Nestle taking a community’s water to oil and gas corporations piping unwanted LNG through Oregon to Monsanto controlling what food seed we can plant – are realizing that they are shut out of being able to protect the health and welfare
of people and nature where they live.”, said Eron King, board president of the Oregon Community Rights Network. “Sustainability is illegal today because our communities cannot say no to the unsustainable corporate projects”, says King.

Today corporations have more power to decide the future and fate of communities than the people in those communities. Corporations are legally protected and have greater “rights” over people, communities, and the environment that permit them to:

  • Grow uncontained GMOs
  • Build LNG pipelines
  • Spray toxic pesticides
  • Gentrify neighborhoods
  • Confine factory farm animals
  • Take private property for corporate use
  • Silence workers
  • Transport unwanted coal and oil
  • Maintain poverty wages

King continued by saying, “It is clear that the current legal structure allows corporations to treat our communities as property. We – the people – have become mere tenants of the corporations. It’s time we change that by changing our constitution to reflect that our right of local community self-government is above corporate control.”

Over the last two years in Oregon, county-level community rights efforts have been underway to confront an array of corporate projects from LNG pipelines to pesticides to GMOs to coal and oil trains. In each community, the aim has been to adopt a Community Bill of Rights law that secures the rights of the people and nature over that of unwanted corporate harms. Oregon communities join over 200 communities in nine states who have adopted community rights laws.

In Colorado, the Colorado Community Rights Network filed a very similar right of local community self-government constitutional amendment in August. The group had run a similar initiative effort in 2014, but because of legal challenges by the state and the oil and gas industry. they ran out of time to qualify. They too are aiming for the November 2016 ballot. More information found here: http://cocrn.org/colorado-community-rights-amendment-2/

To educate the people of Oregon about the state constitutional amendment and the community rights work underway in various parts of the state, the ORCRN is hosting Thomas Linzey from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund who is giving his talk, “Time for an Oregon Revolt: Communities Taking on Corporations and the State of Oregon” in multiple Oregon communities between October 1 to October 8. More information found here: https://orcrn.org/oregon-2015-community-rights-tour-presents/

The Oregon Community Rights Network was formed in 2013 to support local and state community rights efforts with educational and communication resources, as well as educating the public about community rights and corporate control. The ORCRN joins Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington as part of the National Community Rights Network. In each state, communities are working to adopt Community Bill of Rights laws on the local level as well as working towards a similar state constitutional amendment to recognize the right of local community selfgovernment
as has now been launched in Oregon.

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