A Community Bill of Rights TEMPLATE for Portland, Oregon

Community Rights PDX began meeting in January 2012. We started doing public outreach to share our vision for a Community Bill of Rights in January 2013. We see this template more as a discussion-starter than as a solid draft. Our goal is to place the eventual proposed ordinance on the ballot in 2014 or 2015. We invite any and all discussion and involvement in our work. We ask that you attend a two-hour orientation workshop before joining our working groups. Our website will be launched soon. Until then, for more information or to get involved, please contact me, Paul Cienfuegos, at paul@100fires.com.

1) Right to Community-Run Public Education. Residents of the City of Portland have a right to a public educational system managed by the community, which shall also be free from corporate influence. The community-run educational system shall consist of parents, teachers, students, local government, and other residents whose duty it will be to oversee curriculum development, assessment, funding, facilities, and technology. Corporations shall not be allowed to influence in any way policies or decisions of the community-run educational system.

2a) Right to Clean Government. Residents of the City of Portland have the right to clean government, which shall include the right to a municipal legislative process free from corporate control and influence.

2b) Right to Fair Elections. Residents of the City of Portland have the right to fair elections, which shall include the right to an electoral process free from corporate influence and voter suppression.

3) Right to Constitutional Protections in the Workplace. Employees shall possess United States and Oregon Bill of Rights’ constitutional protections in every workplace within the City of Portland, and workers in unionized workplaces shall possess the right to collective bargaining.

4) Rights for Nature. Ecosystems and natural communities within the City of Portland possess inalienable rights to exist and flourish. The rights of rivers, streams, and aquifers shall include the right to sustainable recharge, flows sufficient to protect native fish habitat, and clean water. The City of Portland and any resident of the City or group of residents have standing to enforce and protect these rights.

5a) Right to a Citizen-Managed and Accountable Police Force. Residents of the City of Portland have a right to a police force managed by a civilian police chief overseen by an elected citizen police review commission, as well as a police ombudsman appointed by that review commission, who possesses independent and investigatory powers.

5b) Right to Be Free from Unjustified Excessive and Deadly Force. All people within the City of Portland have a right to be free from use of unjustified excessive or deadly force by law enforcement. Excessive force shall mean but not be limited to law enforcement incidences where there is no active assault of another individual(s), threats to assault another individual(s), or deliberate fleeing from law enforcement. Deadly force shall mean but not be limited to firearms, Tasers, electroshock weapons, and batons.

6) Right To Affordable, Safe, and Secure Housing. All residents of the City of Portland have the right to affordable housing, right to be free from housing discrimination, and the right to be free from unfair housing foreclosure. The City shall ensure the availability of low-income housing stock sufficient to meet the needs of the low-income housing community. People and families may only be denied renting or buying of a dwelling for non-discriminatory reasons and may only be evicted from their residence for non-discriminatory causes. Home foreclosure proceedings shall not commence prior to a determination that no other financing options are available to maintain home ownership, as conducted by a city appointed citizen committee.

7) Right to Subordinate Corporate Powers to People’s Rights. Corporations and other business entities which violate the rights secured by this Charter shall not be deemed to be “persons,” nor possess any other legal rights, privileges, powers, or protections which would interfere with the enforcement of rights enumerated by this Charter.

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