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Oregon Community Rights Network Files Constitutional Amendment To Secure the Right to Local, Community Self Government Free from Corporate Control

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The Oregon Community Rights Network (ORCRN) has submitted a proposed constitutional amendment which will be promoted by Oregonians for Community Rights. ORCRN will be out gathering the needed 1000 signatures for the required administrative review process to take place. The group’s aim is to be on the November 2016 ballot.

ORCRN Board President Eron King said “It is clear that the current legal structure allows corporations to treat our communities as property. We – the people – have become mere tenants of the corporations. It’s time we change that by changing our constitution to reflect that our right to local, community self-government is above corporate control.”

The constitutional amendment is titled “The Right to Local, Community Self-Government” and would place 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 recognized at the state, federal, or international level.

“A growing number of communities in Oregon are finding, 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”, said Eron King, board president of the Oregon Community Rights Network.
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:

o Grow GMOs
o Build LNG pipelines
o Spray toxic pesticides
o Take private property for corporate use
o Transport unwanted coal and oil
o Maintain low 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 inflicted danger. Oregon communities join over 200 communities in nine states who have adopted community rights laws.

In May, the second Community Bill of Rights in Oregon will be voted on in Benton County. The Local Food System Ordinance of Benton County (known as Measure 2-89) would protect the right to a viable local food system, the right to seed, and the rights of natural communities and ecosystems needed to have a healthy local food system, and prohibit corporations from overriding those rights including the use of GMO crops.

Dana Allen, ORCRN board member and member of Benton Food Freedom, proponents of Measure 2-89, said “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.”

The Oregon Community Rights Network was formed in 2013 to support local and state community rights efforts with educational and communication resources as well as educating the public about community rights and corporate control. The ORCRN joins Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington as part of the National Community Rights Network. In each state, communities are working to adopt Community Bill of Rights laws on the local level as well as working towards a similar state constitutional amendment to recognize the right to local, community self-government as has now been launched in Oregon.

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