Oregon PSR's 2021 Legislative Agenda

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In many ways, the state of Oregon is at a crossroads: amid the unprecedented and traumatic crises of COVID-19, wildfires, and white supremacy, our state can choose between the status quo or a bold path forward towards a healthy and livable future. We cannot afford to go “back to normal” when “normal” wasn’t working for far too many people. Instead, our lawmakers have the opportunity to lay a foundation for a world where everyone is treated fairly, lives in a healthy home, and has a bright future.

Oregon PSR is hard at work under challenging circumstances to push for a bold state legislative agenda in 2021. We are excited to be focusing on the emerging Oregon Clean Energy Opportunity campaign to advance environmental justice, chart a course towards 100% clean electricity, and provide energy relief for families who need it most. We are working to address the public health crisis of mass incarceration, stop ill-advised nuclear power exemption bills, and advance progress on gun violence prevention, police accountability, and racial justice.

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Mass Incarceration & Public Health

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Oregon PSR and Oregon Justice Resource Center are continuing our discussion on mass incarceration and public health with regard to Oregon state prisons and adults in custody in Oregon. We are entering into our second year of working together to both better understand and better advocate for the health and well-being of adults in custody in Oregon state prisons.

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Thanks for Celebrating the Nuclear Ban's Entry Into Force With Us!

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On January 22nd, 2021 the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons entered into force and became international law. With the entry into force of this groundbreaking treaty, nuclear weapons are now illegal under international law. Our sincere appreciation to everyone who joined us and our partners at Washington PSR on January 21st for an online celebration to mark the Treaty’s entry into force and explore how it advances nuclear justice. It was so inspiring to celebrate this watershed moment for the nuclear justice movement with you, share a celebratory toast, hear from a few speakers working for nuclear justice, and connect with each other and celebrate together.

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Two Major Victories in the Movement Against Fossil Fuels

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As we welcome a new presidential administration, this momentous day comes on the heels of fantastic news for our healthy climate movement in the Pacific Northwest: yesterday (January 19th, 2021), a state permit denial for the proposed Kalama fracked gas-to-methanol refinery in southwest Washington and a federal ruling to uphold Oregon’s denial of the Clean Water Act permit for the proposed Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and Pacific Connector fracked gas pipeline in four southern Oregon counties. Oregon PSR and our partners have been working hard to block both projects and are thrilled to celebrate this welcome news. With the Biden Administration’s day-one pledge to halt the Keystone XL pipeline, this week seems to signal that a new horizon for the movement against fossil fuels is approaching. 

 

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2021 Greenfield Peace Scholarship Open for Submissions

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Oregon PSR is excited to announce the 2021 Greenfield Peace Scholarship, which is now open for submissions. The theme of this year’s scholarship is Art & Creation: Self Expression, Activism, and Social Change. Now in its 13th consecutive year, this has historically been a writing scholarship open to all Oregon 11th and 12th grade students. This year, though, Oregon PSR is asking young Oregonians who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and who are high school juniors or seniors or the equivalent to respond to the prompt by creating a work of visual art. The scholarship’s goal is to illuminate the perspectives of Oregon's youth on issues of peace, health, justice, and safety in our world.

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A Letter from Our Executive Director

Kelly_photo_fall_FC_2020.jpeg2020 has been quite the year. From the global coronavirus pandemic to the police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the ensuing Black Lives Matter uprisings for racial justice to the climate fueled wildfires and hazardous smoky air devastating our region, we have learned time and again that the basic act of breathing is not to be taken for granted.

Taking a collective deep breath, Oregon PSR’s volunteers and staff have creatively navigated the challenges of this year together, keeping our vision of a just, peaceful, and healthy world front and center as we figure out new ways to connect with each other and to bring a public health lens to address the intersecting crises we face.

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Meet Oregon PSR’s Newest Board Members

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Oregon PSR is thrilled to welcome five new Board of Directors members this year, each of them bringing a health background along with a wealth of connections to communities most impacted by the issues we work on and impressive skills and perspectives that will help guide our organization into its 40th year of advocacy and education. Continue reading for a short profile on each of our new Board members, along with quotes from them on why they joined our Board.

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Peace In a Time of Intersecting Crises

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Oregon PSR approaches the work of our Peace Program with an acknowledgement of the interconnected nature of the multiple public health crises that we now face. We work for peace knowing that there can be no real peace without justice, and that systemic failures in our society must be met with strategic thinking, innovative ideas, and direct engagement with our communities.

Working in coalition with our many partners, we bring the trusted voice of health to bear on nuclear disarmament, building peace and anti-militarism, ending gun violence, and supporting the movements for racial justice, immigrant justice, and police accountability. That all of these intersecting societal ills are severe public health threats means that health professionals and public health advocates can play a vital role in creating a more just and peaceful future.

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A Livable Future Where We Can Breathe Easy

Demonstrating against Jordan Cove LNG in Salem in 2019, pre-COVID. Photo by Alex Milan Tracy.

Pandemic. Racist violence. Wildfires and smoke. Recession. This year has tested us in a multitude of ways, while also giving us a snapshot of what lies ahead should we be unable to rise to the global challenge of mitigating the climate crisis.

All of us who care about public health are being called in this moment to work together for a livable future. It starts with Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) being able to live without fear of being murdered or brutalized by the police. It includes addressing the fact that the brunt of environmental pollution is borne by communities of color and low-income Oregonians, who are more likely to live in the blast zones of oil trains or along busy roads with high concentrations of diesel particulate matter.

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Protecting Health in Oregon State Prisons

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Oregon PSR began this past May to advocate for Oregon state prisoners out of concerns relative to the COVID-19 pandemic and the dire consequences of a deadly outbreak in our state prisons. Since then, we’ve written several letters to the Governor’s office, which manages the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC), and have partnered with Oregon Justice Resource Center (OJRC) for the recent Mass Incarceration and Public Health webinar to better educate ourselves and others on the issues facing Oregon state prisons and the communities that live within them. We will be partnering with OJRC, which continues to advocate for prisoners around the state and provides resources regarding incarceration issues, for more webinars in the near future, including one on the intersections of climate change and mass incarceration.

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