“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 ORCRN, and member of Community Rights Lane County

Oregonians for Community Rights

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

The constitutional amendment is titled “The Right to Local, Community Self-Government” and 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.

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.

“The proposed Oregon constitutional amendment starts a new state-wide conversation on our right to local, community self-government over corporate claimed ‘rights’. What is at stake here is that our authority to decide how best to protect our health, safety and welfare is being overridden by corporations, who often use our own state government against us. This is about taking back our democracy.”

-Dana Allen, ORCRN board member and member of Benton Food Freedom