In June of 2019, Oregon’s House of Representatives voted to approve Senate Joint Memorial 5 (SJM 5), which urges Congress to lead a global effort to reduce the threat of nuclear war, making it the second state in the nation (after California) to pass such legislation in both chambers.
The bill was introduced at the request of Oregon PSR and the support of 31 partner organizations around the state and garnered moving testimony from a Japanese hibakusha (atomic bomb survivor), a Hanford Downwinder, an Atomic Veteran, the Oregon Marshallese Community, a Corvallis city councilor, and others. Chief Sponsors included Senator Michael Dembrow and Representatives Tawna Sanchez and Alissa Keny-Guyer, along with 15 other Oregon state legislators.
SJM 5 acknowledges that Oregon taxpayers are spending roughly $188 million annually on nuclear weapons, money that could be better spent on health care, education, infrastructure, and the environment. It calls out the racial injustice and harm to human health that nuclear weapons have already caused from uranium mining on indigenous land to weapons testing in the Marshall Islands to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the contamination of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation upriver from our state. It asserts that treaties and international agreements that are now being abandoned by the US administration, such as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the Iran Nuclear Deal, are important for keeping Oregonians safe.
The bill supports federal legislation that would stop the President’s sole unchecked power to launch nuclear weapons, end nuclear first-strike, take nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert, stop wasteful spending on a new nuclear arms race, and lead negotiations with other nuclear-armed states to eliminate nuclear weapons. It also calls on the US government to join the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which is supported by the majority of the world’s nations.
We are now following up with legislators who supported SJM 5 to ask them to sign the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) “parliamentary pledge,” joining their colleagues around the world in supporting the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Take Action: Contact your Oregon state legislator and ask them to take the “parliamentary pledge.”
What’s Next? Taking It to the Cities
We’re taking the campaign even more local by asking cities in Oregon to pass resolutions for nuclear disarmament. On Wednesday, November 13th at 3:30 PM, please join us at Portland City Hall (1221 SW 4th Avenue) as the Portland City Council considers two important resolutions in support of the UN nuclear weapons ban treaty and in support of diplomacy, not war, with Iran.
Sign the petition urging Portland City Council to support the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and on November 13th, show up to pack the room in support of these important resolutions.
Don’t live in Portland? We’re also working with community partners in Eugene and Corvallis on similar resolutions. Contact me at [email protected] or at 503-274-2720 for help with organizing a resolution in your community.
This article written by Kelly Campbell, Oregon PSR Executive Director.