Video: Human Rights in the US CLE

June 8, 2015

In the past several years, legal aid, public defense and public interest attorneys have integrated human rights principles rooted in international law into the struggles of the individuals and community organizations they represent.   On December 12, 2014, the Portland chapter of the National Lawyers Guild presented a CLE program on Human Rights in the US: Incorporating International Law into Everyday Practice.

The speakers included:

  • Lauren E. Bartlett, Local Human Rights Lawyering Project Director, Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C.
  • Gwynne Skinner, Associate Professor Law and director of the International Human and Refugee Rights Clinic, Williamette University College of Law.
  • Steven Goldberg, Member Portland Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, former chairperson of the National Lawyers Guild International Committee

This is the first part of that CLE program running approximately 1 hour 20 minutes. The program was approved for 5.5 Oregon CLE credits.

The materials for the program are posted at

For questions and further information, contact Steven Goldberg at

Human Rights in the US CLE

October 7, 2014

The Portland Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and American University College of Law Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law present:


This CLE will be held on Friday, December 12, 2014, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, at the Portland Building Auditorium, 1120 SW 5th Ave.

Detroit residents are challenging water cut-offs before the United Nations.

The Supreme Court cited international law in its decision striking down the death penalty for juveniles.

Increasingly, legal aid, public defense, and public interest attorneys have integrated human rights arguments into advocacy before judges and policy-makers, as well as integrating human rights principles into the struggles of the community organizations they represent. This CLE will provide public interest attorneys with practical strategies, sample arguments, and resources to integrate human rights into daily work at the state and local level in the U.S. Electronic course materials are included in the cost of registration. Speakers include:

Lauren E. Bartlett, Research and Training Director, Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law;

Gwynne Skinner, Associate Professor of Law and director of the International Human and Refugee Rights Clinic, Willamette University College of Law; and

Steven Goldberg, National Lawyers Guild Portland Chapter, former chair of National Lawyers Guild International Committee.

The CLE has been approved for 5.5 credit hours.

Click here for detailed agenda and speaker bios.

Cost to Attend

  • $75 (legal aid lawyers, public defenders, and NLG members)
  • $175 (OSB members)
  • FREE to representatives of community organizations (registration is required)
  • Scholarships are available for legal aid lawyers, public defenders, new lawyers, legal workers, and law students. To apply, please contact Steven Goldberg at 503-445-4622 or

Questions about the CLE? Contact Steven Goldberg at 503-445-4622 or

Right 2 Dream Too Declares Victory

September 16, 2013

After weeks of difficult negotiations between R2DToo and Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, Mark Kramer, NLG attorney for R2DToo and the  NW  4th and Burnside property owners, announced the settlement. “There were a number of complicated hurdles  we overcame to get this very positive result,” said Mr. Kramer. “The settlement is a ‘win-win-win’ for R2DToo, the property owners and Portland. Right 2 Dream Too moves to a home accepted as legitimate by Portland. The oppressive fines and assessments against the property owners will be dismissed. Although the lawsuit filed by R2DToo and the property owners will also be dismissed, all parties acknowledge that the issue is still open as to whether houseless people, with the permission of a private property owner, have the right to sleep safely on private property without interference by the city. That is an issue that will be fought in the future in a different case.” 

Part of the negotiations involved collaboration between R2 and Commissioner Fritz to find a new home that would remain close to services and public transportation. “The site under the Lovejoy onramp to the Broadway Bridge has many positive aspects,” explained R2 Executive Board member Trillium Shannon. “Services and buses are within walking distance and the overpass will provide excellent protection from the elements. This is an historical first in Portland. Previously, the City demanded that Dignity Village locate their site in East Portland far from services and convenient public transportation.”

“Since October 2011 Right 2 Dream Too has provided shelter and other services for an average of 60 people per night who otherwise would have been forced to sleep on the streets,” says organizer Ibrahim Mubarak. “This self organized grassroots model is both legal and effective. But even with our success, a recent study revealed that close to 1,900 children, women and men in Portland are without a safe place to sleep every night. This agreement shows that the City is acknowledging the problem and starting to work with us instead of against us.”

Another Police Accountability Victory

August 20, 2013

Thanks to efforts by NLG law student Briana Swift, the Citizen Review Committee recently voted to disagree with the Portland Police Bureau’s finding in a police misconduct complaint. Floyd McCorvey brought the complaint to the Portland Independent Police Review Division (IPR) after he was stopped by two police officers and immediately questioned as to whether he was a pimp, merely because he had briefly chatted with a woman. The senior officer also made comments about his low-income housing, and told him he needed to stay in his own neighborhood.

Mr. McCorvey, who is African-American, alleged that the officers’ conduct was discriminatory. The IPR refused to investigate that allegation. Instead, it referred the matter to the Police Bureau’s Internal Affairs division to investigate whether the officer was discourteous. The bureau eventually found that allegation ‘unproven.’

Ms. Swift served as Mr. McCorvey’s advocate in his appeal of that finding to the Citizen Review Committee. At the appeal hearing, the Citizen Review Committee voted to recommend the Police Bureau change its finding from unproven to sustained on the complaint that the senior officer was discourteous to McCorvey. The Oregonian and the Mercury both wrote stories on the hearing.

The Bureau will now decide whether to accept the recommendation. If it does not accept it, the Citizen Review Committee will vote on whether to refer the matter to City Council for a final decision on the matter.

The NLG is working with the Oregon Justice Resource Center to expand its IPR advocacy program to serve more individuals who seek to file police misconduct complaints. While the NLG recognizes the many flaws with the IPR complaint system, it believes that its participation in the system as an advocate for complainants assisting will aid its efforts at reform.

The Annual Brunch Is Just a Month Away!

August 8, 2013

Please join us Sunday, September 8, 2013, from 11:00am to 2:00pm at the Historic Kenton Firehouse, 8105 North Denver Avenue.

Friends, fun and fellowship — and a delicious brunch!

General admission – $30
Students, Legal workers – $20

Tickets are available for purchase online.

Upcoming Hearing on Suit Against City For Fining Right 2 Dream Too

July 8, 2013

In December 2012, the owners and tenants of the Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp in downtown Portland filed suit against the City of Portland with the help of Mark Kramer, a member of the Portland NLG. Right 2 Dream opened on a plot of vacant land at the corner of Northwest Fourth Avenue and Burnside last year, with the permission of the property owners. Approximately 80 to 100 homeless people take shelter at Right 2 Dream Too.

The City has fined the property owners $1,346 per month for violating recreational campground codes. The lawsuit alleges that the City unfairly designated Right 2 Dream Too as a recreational campground and asks that the City treat it like Dignity Village, a transitional housing site in Northeast Portland that isn’t subject to the same standards as a “recreational” site. State law allows two such sites in each city.

On Thursday, July 11, there will be a hearing at the Multnomah County Courthouse on the City of Portland’s motion to dismiss the suit. There will be a rally on the courthouse steps at 8:15am, followed by the hearing, at 9:00am, in Judge Immergut’s courtroom.

NLG Police Accountability Victory

June 14, 2013

Thanks in large part to efforts by NLG advocates, the Portland Police Bureau agreed to reopen the investigation of a police misconduct complaint. The reopened investigation will include an examination of potential racial profiling in the case of Lisa Haynes, a 4′ 10″ African American woman stopped in the search for a Hispanic man, 5-feet-4 to 5-feet-6, with a thin build.

The reopened investigation is the product of Ms. Haynes’ courage in facing down the police and city bureaucracy, and the work of NLG volunteers Briana Swift and Kristin Chambers, who wrote a letter on behalf of the NLG to the City of Portland’s Office of Independent Police Review (IPR) regarding this case. Ms. Swift also served as Ms. Haynes’ advocate in her appeal of her police misconduct complaint to the Citizen Review Committee. At the appeal hearing, which was covered in the Oregonian, the Citizen Review Committee questioned why IPR and the Portland Police Bureau did not investigate the racial profiling aspects of Ms. Haynes’ case.

The NLG is working with the Oregon Justice Resource Center to expand its IPR advocacy program to serve more individuals who seek to file police misconduct complaints. While the NLG recognizes the many flaws with the IPR complaint system, it believes that assisting individuals who seek to bring complaints will aid in its continued efforts at reform.


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