The conference is a gathering of Guild members from the region — legal workers, law students, lawyers, and jailhouse lawyers — at which we make decisions about regional governance, share victories and resources, and learn more about the important work Guildmembers are doing in the Northwest.
The 2016 conference will be held April 9-10 at the University of Washington School of Law.
This year’s theme is intersectionality and the law. Highlights include: special guest panelist Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, President of the National Lawyers Guild; keynote address by Dean Spade, Professor of Law; anti-racism training; panels on local resistance to mass incarceration and organizing for housing and economic justice. CLE credit pending for Oregon and Washington.
More information and registration link here: https://2016nwnlgregionalconference.wordpress.com/
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Last week the Portland Chapter of the NLG sent a letter to Portland’s Office of Independent Police Review, criticizing its failure to investigate allegations of disparate treatment. The Portland Chapter NLG and the Lewis & Clark Student Chapter of the NLG continue to assist individuals who wish to pursue police misconduct complaints against Portland Police Bureau officers.