State Constitutional Change…

Oregonians for Community Rights

 OR4CR is a state level citizen’s initiative effort to amend the Oregon Constitution. The group is currently in court waiting for permission to gather signatures.

View the text of the amendment

Visit the Oregonians for Community Rights website

The constitutional amendment titled “The Right to Local, Community Self-Government” would codify into law the right to local, community self-government, enabling 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 currently recognized at the state, federal, or international level.

“A growing number of communities in Oregon are finding that, in the face of corporate exploitation, they don’t have the recognized authority to protect public health, safety and welfare, economic and environmental sustainability, property value, and overall quality of life.”

– Eron King, board president Oregon Community Rights Network, and member of Community Rights Lane County

Although we assert that our right to local, community self-government is a fundamental and inherent right of the people, corporations have established a structure of state and federal law and a history of legal precedents that block communities from exercising this right.  State preemption usurps the policymaking rights in specific areas to prevent local communities from writing laws to stop corporate harms. Judicially “found” corporate constitutional rights are wielded against local communities to block any local lawmaking that might impede corporate activities. An amendment to the Oregon constitution(1) is needed to secure the rights of local communities to write local laws that establish fundamental rights for individuals, their communities and nature, and to secure those rights by banning certain activities, and to curtail rights claimed by corporations that that would interfere with these newly established rights. Our statewide amendment(1) is also needed to insulate these local laws from pre-election challenges designed to keep these local laws off the ballot, and to prevent these laws from state, federal, and international preemption.

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 permits them to:

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

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. But statewide constitutional change is necessary in order to give these local community rights laws the legal protections they need to withstand the all-but-certain legal challenges that corporations will mount against them.