“The designation of Michael Flynn to be National Security Adviser is deeply alarming. His statements about Muslims are profoundly un-American as well as damaging to the fight against terrorism and national security. He has indicated an openness to torture and the destruction of an entire city, both of which are clearly illegal, not to mention immoral and destructive to America’s global leadership. His financial entanglements with Russia and other foreign governments are also cause for concern, particularly given President-elect Trump’s refusal to disclose his own finances.
With the designation of Michael Flynn and Steven Bannon, the president-elect has created a White House leadership that embodies the most divisive rhetoric of his campaign. To the extent that these become policies or legislative proposals, I commit to stopping them. I will also approach the confirmation process with the expectation that nominees will, at the very minimum, demonstrate a clear commitment to American values and the rule of law.
In that spirit, I look forward to the confirmation process for Representative Mike Pompeo to be Director of the CIA. Given its recent history of operating a disastrous torture program and then spying on the Senate itself, the agency demands principled leadership now more than ever. Unfortunately, Representative Pompeo’s comments in which he asserted that the CIA’s torture program was legal and that the American people did not deserve to know about it are deeply troubling.”
“Donald Trump has a responsibility to put an end to the prejudice and put an end to the hate crimes sweeping our nation,” Merkley said. “Put the hate speech and hate acts behind you. Don’t bring white supremacists or deeply prejudiced individuals into your administration.”
Merkley and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) have both called this week for Trump to drop Bannon as his chief White House strategist.
UPDATE, 10:38 am Friday, Nov. 18: Here is the full text of Merkley’s floor speech. Perhaps most notably, it contains a tribute to Portland’s anti-Trump protesters, and calls on Trump to listen to them.
Mr. President, our Nation has gone through a difficult, bruising Presidential election. Normally, we would be making the pivot to healing those wounds, but this election has been particularly rough, and the wounds sustained during the campaign continue to haunt our Nation. Many groups of Americans across our country are frightened for the future, of being deported, of being targeted as Muslims, of resurgent racism toward African Americans, of anti-Semitism, of losing their right to marry the person they love. Unfortunately, they have good reason to be afraid. We have seen a surge, a wave of hateful bigoted, racist, sexist attacks happening in communities across our country since the election. The divisive rhetoric and conduct of President-Elect Donald Trump’s campaign over the past year and a half is responsible for unleashing this blight on our country. He has the responsibility to turn things around, to put an end to this division, and to start the healing. That is why, earlier today, 10 of my colleagues in the Senate joined me to send a letter to President-Elect Trump, demanding that he stand up and condemn these verbal and physical attacks occurring around this country, that he denounce his own past campaign rhetoric that gave life to so many of these acts of hate and violence, and that he exclude proponents of hatred and discrimination from the ranks of his administration, including immediately firing white supremacist Steve Bannon as his Chief Strategist. Here is what the text of the letter says: Mr. President-Elect: Your campaign conduct and Electoral College victory have unleashed a wave of verbal and physical assaults against our fellow Americans. In just the last six days, the Southern Poverty Law Center has documented hundreds of acts of discrimination and violence toward many of the ethnic and social groups you attacked in your campaign. These attacks are absolutely unacceptable. We condemn them. We stand united with our fellow citizens. Unfortunately, these acts of hate have been enabled by your campaign strategy of promoting bigotry, racism, and sexism. It is the logical consequence of your campaign attacks on and discrimination aimed at Hispanics, African Americans, veterans, immigrants, women, Muslims, Jews, and individuals with disabilities. Millions of Americans see a President-elect who has chosen to knock them down rather than to lift them up. Your conduct has empowered too many Americans to act on their darkest impulses. This is the wrong vision for America and the wrong path for your coming Administration. We call on you to change course. We urge you, as our future President, to join us in rejecting hate and embracing respect for every ethnicity, race and gender. We urge you to join us in fighting for a nation free of discrimination, where every child has the opportunity to thrive and contribute according to his or her ability. We urge you to join us in fighting for our Constitutional vision of equality and opportunity and the vision in our Pledge of Allegiance of liberty and justice for all. As you assume the mantle of leadership in office, it is your responsibility to put an end to the crimes of hate and prejudice sweeping our nation. These wounds to our national citizenry are of your making. It is your responsibility to rectify the damage. You have the power as President to move beyond the hate-filled rhetoric of your campaign. We call on you to repudiate your campaign attacks against diverse communities of Americans. We call on you to address the American people and demand that all Americans end these verbal and physical attacks and replace acts of hatred with acts of kindness. We call on you to exclude the proponents of discrimination and hatred from the ranks of your Administration, and that includes immediately firing Steve Bannon as your Chief Strategist. The letter concludes: It is time for you to act boldly and powerfully to put the nation on a path of healing. For the sake of all Americans, we call on you to rise to the challenge. In addition to myself, it is signed by Senator Mazie Hirono, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Sherrod Brown, Senator Ed Markey, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Al Franken, who spoke so eloquently a few moments ago, Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator-Elect Chris Van Hollen, and Senator Tom Carper. I thank my colleagues who have appropriately said that at this moment–at this unusual moment in our history, in our time here in the 21st century–that we have a President-elect playing on hate and prejudice and bringing a white supremacist in as Chief Adviser is unacceptable. Some will say that President-Elect Trump cannot himself be accountable for what is happening across our country, but they are wrong. His words and his conduct are directly connected to the harassment and the physical and verbal assaults that we are seeing. I am going to share with you all the comments of the campaign and the acts of citizens in category after category to show how these are tied together–how, indeed, these verbal assaults and these physical assaults are motivated by and justified by the campaign of our President-elect–just to emphasize that it is time for our President-elect to take responsibility, to change course, to embrace the connectedness of our American communities, the vision of equality and opportunity in our Constitution, the vision of a nation with justice for all, and the fact that our President should be working to raise up all families–not raising up a few by tearing down the rest. Let’s start by looking at what Mr. Trump said about our Nation’s Latino citizens. At the start of his campaign, Mr. Trump said: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best ….. they’re sending people with lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with them. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. ….. And some, I assume, are good people.” Later in the campaign he promised to build a wall–“a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.” When discussing Judge Gonzalo Curiel, a U.S. district judge presiding over a lawsuit against Trump University–by the way, an American-born citizen–the President-elect said the judge couldn’t be impartial and should be removed from the case because “this judge is of Mexican heritage.” Judge Curiel was born and raised in Indiana. Mr. Trump’s right-hand man, his designated Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, used his position at Breitbart News to continue attacks against Latinos. Under his leadership, Breitbart frequently used anti-immigrant slurs and published “war on Spanish” and nativist-appealing content in his quest to make his platform a platform for White nationalism. It is important to note that even many Republicans and conservative commentators believe that Mr. Bannon is a man with unconscionable views and frightening ties to white supremacist movements. John Weaver, a former top adviser to Governor John Kasich tweeted of Mr. Bannon’s selection as Chief Strategist: “The racist, fascist extreme is represented footsteps from the Oval Office.” Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist, called Bannon: “White supremacist, anti gay, anti Semite, vindictive.” Ana then said: “Be afraid, America.” Glenn Beck, known to all of us as a rightwing radio commentator–a very conservative commentator, a person who has attacked virtually every idea to help working America that comes from the blue side of the aisle–said Bannon is “terrifying” and said that he has helped to give voice to White nationalists. Former KKK leader David Duke and the American Nazi Party have praised Bannon’s elevation to the White House. So there should be no mistaking or sugar coating what precisely this individual, Steve Bannon, stands for. Under his leadership, Breitbart became a leader in anti-Latino, nativist material–one headline after another attacking Hispanics here in America. So when we look at what is happening right at this moment to Latinos today, what do we see? We see students in our schools taunting and bullying their classmates. At DeWitt Junior High School in Lansing, MI, White students formed a human wall and refused to let their Latino classmates into the school. In Ventura, CA, a Latino mother reported seeing fifth graders at her child’s school chanting: “Build a wall.” Latinos all across our Nation are being harassed and told they are going to be deported, they don’t belong here in America, even if they were born here in America. In Andover, MA, a group of white men in a car threw a water bottle at a young Hispanic woman and screamed: “Time to go back to your country”–insert expletive–“my man Trump is on top now and we don’t want you here!” In Southern California, a college student was accosted by a man who said: I can’t wait until Trump asks us to rape your people and send you back over the biggest damn wall we’re going to build. Go back to hell. Then he inserted a racist slur for a Mexican and then threw water in the young woman’s face. Walls all across the Nation are being spray painted with phrases such as: “Build the Wall Higher.” In the face of attacks such as these, it is hard to remember that we are, indeed, a nation of immigrants. Unless you are 100-percent Native American, you are the child, grandchild, great grandchild, or the descendent of immigrants. Your forefathers and foremothers came to our country and felt they had come to a place where they could thrive. We have those beautiful words carved into the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” It inspires all of us. Each one of us–again, unless we are 100-percent Native American–have an ancestor who came to the country and felt that moment of freedom and opportunity no matter where they had come from. Latinos are not the only group of Americans suffering because of the rhetoric of the Trump campaign. African Americans have become a significant target in post-Trump America, as too many take their cues from our next President’s words and actions towards that community–words like the ones President-Elect Trump used to talk about African Americans who work for him. He said: “I’ve got black accountants at Trump Castle and Trump Plaza. Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” He then went on to say: “I think the guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.” Those are the words of our President-elect. When he talked about the Black Lives Matter movement on FOX News, he said: “I think they are trouble. I think they’re looking for trouble.” He often shows a startling disconnect with the African-American community, generalizing that they all live in inner cities that he regularly describes as poverty-stricken war zones. This disconnect started very early on in his real estate career when President-Elect Trump was publicly sued twice for discriminating against African Americans who were trying to rent apartments in his buildings. Of course, we can’t talk about Mr. Trump’s–President-Elect Trump’s–relations with the African-American community without bringing up his longstanding promotion and advocacy of the birther movement, which tried to delegitimize our country’s first African-American President. Those efforts go back to 2011, when Mr. Trump was considering a run for the White House and said on one talk show: “If he wasn’t born in this country, which is a real possibility ….. then he has pulled off one of the great cons in the history of politics.” He went on and on and on–month after month–questioning the legitimacy of our President in office. To his credit, on that particular point Mr. Trump has recanted himself, but he used it as a race card time after time after time to delegitimize our President–President Obama–because he is African American. The views of President-Elect Trump’s right-hand man, his Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, aren’t any better. Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart created a news section titled “Black Crime.” Just 2 weeks after the Charleston massacre in which nine African-American churchgoers were slaughtered, Breitbart ran this headline. By the way, in that attack, the attacker used the Confederate flag as a symbol–a racist symbol–to justify attacking these nine individuals. What did Steve Bannon do? He ran this headline: “Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage.” In a lengthy July post on Breitbart, Bannon accused the left of a “plot to take down America” by fixating on police shootings of Black citizens. Well, the list goes on and on, but he proceeded to say: “There are, after all, in this world, some people who are naturally aggressive and violent.” That is certainly a direct racist statement. And what is the result we see today of all of this racism from our President-elect and from his Chief Strategist? Well, we have seen a startling rise in people’s willingness to use the “N” word in public. At a school in Maple Grove, MN, the boys bathroom was defaced by graffiti that included racial slurs such as the “N” word and porch monkeys, alongside pro-Trump messages such as “Trump Train” and “Make America Great Again.” Students from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse who were living off campus found the quote “Go Home” and the “N” word written on their front door. A man in Knoxville, TN, woke up one morning to find his car vandalized with the phrase–and I am paraphrasing–expletive deleted “U”, insert “N” word, and then the word “Trump” spray-painted on his car. We have seen incidents harkening back to a time in history of discrimination and segregation. At a high school in Jacksonville, FL, an individual put up these signs: “Colored” and “Whites Only”–the time of Jim Crow in America, where African Americans were treated as second-class citizens–and a “Whites Only” sign was found on the door of a bathroom stall at a high school in Duluth, MN. These are just a few of the incidents. There are the assaults as well, one incident after another of African Americans being assaulted. There is the softball field dugout in Wellsville, NY, where the phrase “Make America White Again” was spray-painted and the defacement of a wall in Durham, NC, where someone decided to write “Black lives don’t matter and neither does your vote.” There was a horrific incident in my State of Oregon in which an African-American woman was attacked in the parking lot of a grocery store in Hillsboro, OR. A group of three men threw a brick at her, broke her ribs, called her the “N” word, threatened to rape her, and they said: Now we finally have a President who feels how we feel. It is hard to imagine how our President-elect, with his own racist commentary, his own past acts of discrimination, his own racist campaign, his own racist Chief Strategist, isn’t at all connected to these events sweeping the country. They are directly connected. And that is why we are calling on the President-elect to change course. The election is behind us. Before the President-elect is 4 years of opportunities to improve the lives of Americans. Take the assaults of the past and make them the assaults of the past. Look to the vision of partnership to build a better America in the years ahead. Leave that past behind. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said: Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. ….. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and the passionate concern of dedicated individuals. Let’s make that the spirit of the next 4 years, where together we are dedicated to progress for all Americans toward reaching that goal of opportunity and equality and justice. Another target has been our women across the country. Our President-elect repeatedly treated women as sexual objects. Women have worked so hard to be seen as equals in our society. Women have flown as astronauts. They have reached the heights in science. They have reached peak after peak in leadership across our country. They bring their insight and wisdom to this Chamber here in the U.S. Senate and in the House of Representatives 100 yards across Capitol Hill. But our President-elect has seen it differently. Referring to the media, he said: “It doesn’t really matter what they write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of”–insert a demeaning term for women. He declared that “You don’t give a”–insert expletive–“if a girl can play a violin like the greatest violinist in the world. You want to know what does she look like.” Our President-elect derided a political opponent by commenting on her looks, saying, “look at that face! Would anybody vote for that? Can you imagine that, the next face of our President?” During the campaign, our President-elect called a female lawyer disgusting or at some point in passing he called a female lawyer disgusting because she asked to take a medical break to pump breast milk for her 3-month-old daughter. I think we are all aware of the comments he made towards FOX News debate moderator Megyn Kelly–words I choose not to repeat at this moment. And then he said pregnant women are an inconvenience for his business. And of course our President-elect was caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women, saying: “I’m just automatically attracted to beautiful–I just start kissing them. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.” Then he went on to talk about groping the women and being able to get away with it because he is a star. He has brought into the White House his Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, who shares these views about women, putting up a headline: “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women. ….. They Just Suck At Interviews.” Another one said: “The Solution to Online `Harassment’ is simple: Women Should Log Off.” Here is another: “Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?” as if women’s rights are a disease. We see that these comments and the conduct of the President-elect and the comments of his Chief Strategist have had an impact. Two men at a concert in Ohio threatened to “Donald Trump” a female security guard because she wouldn’t let them into a restricted section of the venue. According to one teacher, a 10-year-old girl was taken home from school after a male classmate grabbed her private parts, and when asked why he did it, the boy said that if a President can do it, he can do it too. In Oklahoma City, a woman was chased on the highway because of her Hillary bumper sticker, while men in another car hurled sexual insults at her. These are just a small number of the hundreds and hundreds of events happening across this country. Every Member of this body, every Member of the Senate can relate stories from people who have shared with them over the past few weeks, stories from their constituents who have written to them to share the harassment they have suffered. We have just seen a historic milestone. We have had, for the first time, a woman as the nominee of a major political party–and not only that, she got a lot more votes than did Donald Trump. The women’s suffrage movement has come so far since the days when Elizabeth Cady Stanton said: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men and women are created equal” and that “the history of the past is but one long struggle toward equality.” We have come a long ways in the few decades since Martin Luther King said that the moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice. Across our country, citizens have worked to bend that arc in this vision of a nation that embraces opportunity for all–not opportunity only for the rich and powerful to have more opportunity, but opportunity for all, for every child to have the ability to contribute to this country. My father, now deceased, was a mechanic. He never went to college. But he told me when I was in grade school: Son, if you go through the doors of that schoolhouse and you work hard, you can do just about anything here in America. That is the vision we want to strive toward, where the son of a mechanic, the daughter of a janitor, the child of a Hispanic couple or an African-American couple or a gay couple or a lesbian couple–where every child has the opportunity to thrive. To do that, we have to set aside these racist attacks, these sexist attacks. Another target has been our Muslim-American community. For the last year and a half, they, like other groups of Americans, have been denigrated and insulted by President-Elect Trump and his campaign. His campaign has worked to fan the flames of Islamophobia. Take Mr. Trump’s views on registering Muslim-Americans. When asked whether the United States should have a registry of Muslims, he said, “I would certainly implement that. Absolutely. ….. There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases. We should have a lot of systems.” When the reporter followed by asking “Would Muslims be required to register?” he answered, “They have to be. They have to be.” Well, let me share with the President-elect that we are not a nation that discriminates because of one’s religion. It is called freedom of religion. Our vision is opportunity for all. There were nations that discriminated based on religion. Those were European nations. That is why a lot of our forefathers came here–to escape that oppression and to have the freedom to thrive and to maintain the religious views they wanted to have, not what somebody else told them they had to have, or to be imprisoned, or register them for discrimination because of their religious background. So when any American attacks our Muslim-American brothers and sisters, we need to stand with them shoulder to shoulder. And if any other religious group is attacked, we need to stand with them shoulder to shoulder and stand for the vision of opportunity and equality for all. That is what every Member of this Chamber should be coming down here to say–that when those groups are attacked, we will stand with them because that is not the vision of America. That is not the spirit of America. That certainly is 100 percent contrary to the vision of America. Our President-elect tried to foment fear of Muslims seeking refuge in our Nation from war zones. He told a crowd in Minneapolis that allowing refugees into our country “will import generations of terrorism, extremism and radicalism into your schools and throughout your communities.” This statement is so far diverged from the truth as to make it impossible to recognize where he got this notion. Every expert will tell you that if a terrorist wants to come into our Nation, the hardest path is to come as a refugee: You have to go to refugee camp, you have to be registered, you have to be vetted for years, and if you are male, you are probably not going to make it, but because the goal was to foment Islamophobia, this lie was repeated again and again. It is much easier to come into our country on a tourist visa, a business visa, a student visa, not a refugee settlement visa. Our President-elect told the same crowd that refugees settling in Minnesota were “joining ISIS and spreading their extremist views all over our country. ….. `’ Now there are reports from some connected with the transition team that the incoming administration is considering implementing a system for registering Muslim Americans, just as President-Elect Trump talked about, and using our country’s shameful internment of Japanese Americans to justify this idea because it is a precedent. Let me be clear: Imprisoning fellow Americans as we did during World War II was a shameful and dark chapter and a mistake. We need to make sure we remember that it was a mistake and never use it as a precedent for action in the future. Then, again, here we have our President-elect’s Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, who has run headlines like, “Political Correctness Protects the Muslim Rape Culture” or “Immediately After Muslim Mayor Elected, London’s Iconic Buses Proclaim, `Glory to Allah.”’ Mr. Bannon has personally suggested that we are in a global war against Islam. So it is no wonder the rhetoric of our President-elect and the leader of the White supremacist Web site is causing discrimination and confrontation with Muslim Americans around our country. Some are being physically assaulted, like the woman at San Jose University who lost her balance and choked when a man attempted to rip off her headscarf or the Muslim student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus who reported having a knife pulled on her. Then there are those who are being verbally abused and otherwise intimidated, including a woman riding the BART train in San Francisco who was accosted when another passenger called her a terrorist who should be deported, and a pickup truck that has been driving around Brooksville, FL, with writing on it that says: “All Muslims are Terrorists,” “Deport them all,” and “I hate Muslims.” In Georgia, a Muslim teacher found a note left for her that said: “Headscarf isn’t allowed anymore” and telling her to “hang yourself with it.” That is the level of Islamophobia sweeping our Nation at this very moment, inspired by the rhetoric of our President-elect and his Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, and it is unacceptable. It needs to stop. As Robert Kennedy once said, “America’s answer to the intolerant man is diversity–the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired.” We need to embrace that heritage, we need to cherish that heritage, and we need to strive to live up to the best instincts of our Nation, not the darkest impulses. Yet another group that is feeling threatened is our LGBTQ community. I will note that Donald Trump in his campaign did not attack our LGBTQ community overtly, and he said on “60 Minutes” the other night, as the question of same-sex marriage came up, the question of same-sex marriage is “settled.” Actions speak as well as words, and of all the possible men and women he could choose as a running mate, he chose now-Vice President-Elect Mike Pence, the most anti-LGBTQ Governor in America. This individual is someone who has signed a draconian religious “liberty law” in Indiana that allows individuals and businesses to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. Our Vice President-elect supported conversion therapy to change people’s sexual behavior. As a radio host, he gave a speech and declared marital equality would lead to “societal collapse.” Mr. Trump’s Chief Strategist echoes much of this. One headline on Breitbart News said: “Dear Straight People: I’m Officially Giving You Permission to Say”–and then it goes on to list anti-LGBTQ slurs. Another headline that he put up on his Web site said: “Gay Rights Have Made Us Dumber, It’s Time to Get Back in The Closet.” Yet another headline said: “Kids Raised By Same-Sex Couples Twice As Likely To Be Depressed, Fat Adults.” How has this kind of rhetoric impacted our Nation since the election? A gay couple in Ogden, UT, woke up to find their car vandalized with anti-gay slurs painted on the side. Rainbow flags, the symbol of the LGBTQ movement around the world, were burned in Rochester, NY. An individual in North Carolina found a note on their car that said: Can’t wait until your “marriage” is overturned by a real president. Gay families = burn in hell #Trump 2016. Like so many of the other groups of Americans I have talked about, the LGBTQ community has struggled for a long time to be accepted, to be recognized as full members of our society, to not be discriminated against when they seek employment in our country, to have the same rights against discrimination that we adopted for race and gender and ethnicity in 1964. We have come a ways, but we haven’t yet made it to the point that we have provided the same foundation against discrimination that we provided in 1964 to other groups. So while Donald Trump himself did not attack the LGBTQ community, the person he chose as Vice President and the person he elevated to Chief Strategist for the White House very much have, and that is a powerful, powerful message that has unleashed attacks across this country. As our next President, Donald Trump has the responsibility to put an end to the prejudice and to put an end to the hate crimes sweeping our Nation and to calm the fears and anxieties of millions of Americans who are frightened about their future in this country–about whether they will have an opportunity to contribute to this country, whether they will be fired from their job, whether their car will be vandalized, whether their children will be taunted and bullied, whether they will be attacked in a parking lot. Across the Nation, thousands of people have been turning out to walk the streets and to protest. They are trying to send a message. Sometimes that message has gone off-track. In Portland, OR, thousands turned out to send this message to our President elect: Put the hate speech and hate acts behind you. Don’t bring White supremacists or deeply prejudiced individuals into your administration. Let’s have a next 4 years that embraces all Americans and their opportunity to succeed. They are trying to send a message by walking with their feet from park to park, across bridges, through the streets. Unfortunately, some anarchists decided to destroy the effectiveness of this protest by breaking windows and setting some fires. The organizers of these protests condemn the anarchists and try to keep them out, and most of the protests have succeeded. I ask for our President-elect, if you won’t listen to those of us who are publicly asking you to change course, and if you won’t listen to my colleagues who are privately calling you and saying to you and your team to change course, then listen to the people in the streets across America who are trying to peacefully convey the message that we are a diverse nation, with a fabulous vision of embracing people of every religion and every ethnicity and every race. Let’s continue that tradition. Let’s strengthen that tradition. Let’s build on that tradition. That is the message all of us are trying to send. I join my colleagues to repeat the requests we have made on the floor in Senate, the letter we sent to you, the message sent privately by many of my colleagues sitting across the aisle, the message sent by many of our leaders from civil rights groups and other organizations who have contacted the transition team, the message that has echoed with thousands and thousands of emails sent to Capitol Hill to ask us to help convey this message. From every direction, Americans are reaching out and saying: End the hate speech. End the hate commentary. Bring people into your administration who believe in opportunity and justice for all. Change directions. It is a time for leadership. It is time for our President-Elect Donald Trump to rise to the occasion and to help build a nation that provides the foundation for every American to thrive.
“Oregon continues to outpace the nation and the expansion endures,” wrote the state’s chief economist, Mark McMullen. However, “job growth in recent months has decelerated somewhat from the full-throttle rates seen in the past couple of years.”
State revenues are tracking forecasts because McMullen and his colleagues in the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis anticipated a slowdown in growth.
One trend state econonmists didn’t anticipate was a strong uptick in revenues from estate taxes—Oregonians dying with estates worth more than $1 million.
(Estate taxes begin at 10 percent on the first million and increase to 16 percent above $9.5 million.)
In the first year of the current two-year state budget cycle, estate tax receipts came in about 15 percent higher than forecast and over the two year period are now expected to reach nearly $280 million, exceeding the original estimate by 28 percent.
The month of August alone saw estate tax receipts of $48.6 million, which state senior economist Josh Lehner says is more than twice the previous highest month on record.
Even with increased tax planning, economists expect the state to continue to reap the benefits of generational change, particularly as the strong economy has boosted the values of financial assets such as stocks and bonds and the value of real estate.
“The large Baby Boomer generation is aging into their retirement years today and into their later ages in the coming decades,” their forecast reads. “As such there will be an increase in the number of Oregonians passing away in the relatively near future.”
The county with the largest percentage of population gain? Deschutes County, which grew by 3.5 percent. (That’s Bend, for those keeping score at home.)
What’s driving all this growth?
“People move because they want to be in communities that are likeminded with similar people,” says Risa Proehl, population estimates program manager at at PSU, “where they have friends and family, and where jobs are. People are attracted to Oregon because there are many affordable places to live here, there is control over urban sprawl, and there is access to the natural environment.”
Proehl says the majority of new arrivals are coming from California and Washington.
“Many are retirees, it’s a popular retiree destination, young families, and young single people. We are seeing a broad spectrum,” Proehl says.
The majority of population growth has taken place in urban centers—Oregon’s incorporated cities saw a 39,460 population increase, more than half of all growth. Combined population in cities totals an estimated 2,816,400—more than half of the population in the state.
Multnomah and Washington counties have seen the largest raw population gains with an increase of around 13,000 residents in each (Portland’s population increase was estimated at 14,000). Clackamas and Deschutes counties each grew by about 5,000, Marion and Lane counties added around 4,000, and Jackson grew by about 3,000. In aggregate, population growth in these counties accounted for 80 percent of the state’s population growth.
This type of growth is a sign of a strong economy says Proehl, because people are attracted to places where there’s work. But this type of population boom can have mixed impacts. “There is more of a demand on services, infrastructure, and housing,” Proehl explains. “It’s more crowded.”
After years of discussion, Associated Oregon Industries and its younger, more progressive spinoff, the Oregon Business Association announced today they have voted to merge.
“This is the culmination of three years of intense discussion and outreach,” said Pat Reiten, AOI Chairman of the Board and President of PacifiCorp Transmission said in a statement announcing the merger. “We wanted to make sure we did this right because it’s not only about what is good for business, but, ultimately, what’s good for Oregon.”
Between them, the two groups represent just about every significant employer in the state, with many large companies belonging to both.
Associated Oregon Industries, formed in 1895, has lost some of its swagger over the past decade as Democrats have cemented their hold on the levers of power in this state. Portland-area businesses who wanted a more progressive and environmentally-friendly approach founded the Oregon Business Association in 1999.
The two groups agreed more often than they disagreed but still found significant areas of policy disagreement. Last year, for example, OBA supported Democrats’ move to implement a low carbon fuel standard for Oregon, while AOI opposed it.
But the merger will not go into effect until July 1, 2017, which means AOI and OBA will continue as separate organizations through the 2017 legislative session and will not name a new leader for the combined entity for seven months.
As WW reported earlier, several of the founders of OBA and some big players, including Nike, initially opposed the merger and it would be no great surprise if another business association popped up to represent dissident viewpoints.
Here are Unger’s thoughts about the result and what comes next.
WW: What surprised you most about this loss?
Ben Unger: The biggest surprise was how difficult it was to tell voters a story about how big the need is. And we struggled to communicate how we could address those needs with one measure. There is a deep skepticism about whether we are delivering what people need from their government.
What lesson did you learn?
I think the biggest takeaway is the coalition we’ve built now, we needed at the beginning. When we started, it was just Our Oregon. Then when we had a meeting the night before the election, there were 60 groups represented in the room. It was a much bigger, broader community. We needed them at the beginning. I think they could have laid the groundwork with the political elites and the media. We never convinced the establishment that we got the details right.
Which of the opposition’s arguments was most harmful?
You got millions of dollars from out-of-state unions. How are they feeling?
They want to make sure that nationally we are learning from this experience. How you win these fights is an ongoing question. How do we apply what we’ve learned to the next fight so we’re more able to win? That’s why they invest in us—because they want to know how to do this in other places. I can’t overestimate how much the uncertainty at the national level puts pressure on us to figure that out quickly.
We go to Salem. It will be hard for people to propose budget cuts without first increasing corporate taxes. You talk to voters, they agreed 100 percent that corporations need to do their fair share. We will force that choice more in Salem. The opposition to our campaign is gone now—the California consultants aren’t sticking around like our coalition is, and I think people are more motivated now than ever before.
Will you go back to the ballot again?
That question is still up in the air. We will come to the Legislature with a menu that calls for investments—significant investments, not small. I think we’ve put pressure on everybody. We are willing to come to the table. The challenge is, how do we bring everybody else along?
Nobody would blame Portlanders for wanting to pull the covers over their heads when they woke up Nov. 9.
The night before, Americans summoned what has all the makings of a calamity upon the nation: They elected Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States.
Trump’s election doesn’t just mean a triumph for Republicans at the far right edge of the party. It means that a boor, admitted sexual predator and racist will occupy the White House. His victory emboldens white nationalists who would make this country great by silencing anyone who doesn’t look like them.
Mayor Charlie Hales and his Police Bureau have deployed compression grenades and tear gas, struggling to maintain balance between freedom and order. A leading Republican called for Gov. Kate Brown to impose martial law.
But the nonviolent protests are not cause for alarm. They are a reason to hope.
The marches deliver a clear message to Trump, one that few top Democrats have been willing to send:
This city will not kowtow to a president whose backward-looking policy proposals would turn America into a banana republic. Instead, Portlanders will resist. They will defy this president as he tries to turn the clock back. They will stand arm in arm with our most vulnerable neighbors and defend their right to an equal place in this country.
But to rise against Trump, we must understand where he actually threatens us.
In the following pages, we’ve assessed the dangers to Portland and Oregon posed by a Trump presidency. We have not attempted to rank them by significance—it’s impossible to weigh the risk to Latinos from mass deportation against the safety of women from sexual violence, and we’re not going to try. Instead, we’ve graded these threats by probability, on a scale of one to five Trumps. (Five is the most threatening.)
Predicting what Trump will do is not simple. He flips positions so fast that some of the risks we’ve identified could be obsolete by the time this story comes out.
Yet it is possible—and necessary—to judge Trump by what he has already done, and what he has promised to do.
Those facts are sobering, at times terrifying. But we aren’t presenting them to frighten you. We’re listing them so all of us can understand what’s at stake, and prepare to fight for it.
There are many ways to battle Trump. Street protests are an important form of resistance, but they are hardly sufficient. Most of the causes in the following pages have advocacy organizations that will use their energy and resources in positive ways to fight for the causes in which they believe. Oregon has progressive politicians, powerful organized labor, and deeply committed activists, all of which are bulwarks that can be forces of resistance—a more productive approach than despair.
But the first step is knowledge. It is the one thing that most frightens Donald Trump, and the greatest weapon against him.
—Nigel Jaquiss, Rachel Monahan, Beth Slovic, Aaron Mesh, Piper McDaniel and Sophia June
Women will lose reproductive rights when the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
Having recently decided he’s pro-life, Trump says no one’s getting onto the U.S. Supreme Court who doesn’t share his views on abortion.
But overturning Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, would take filling two court seats—not just the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February.
Even then, success for Trump is no guarantee. A case directly challenging Roe would have to wend its way to the Supreme Court. That could take years. “Roe v. Wade has withstood some very conservative courts,” says Janel George, director of federal reproductive rights and health with the National Women’s Law Center.
If the court struck down abortion rights, the matter would turn to states, some of which still have laws on the books banning or criminalizing abortion.
That’s not the case in Oregon, but advocates here are already planning to buttress the defenses.
Michele Stranger Hunter, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, said her organization is “absolutely preparing” for worst-case scenarios in which Oregon becomes an island of reproductive freedom. “It’s beyond belief,” she says, “that my daughter will be fighting this fight, too.”
Meanwhile, providers in Oregon remain defiant. “Our health center doors will stay open,” says Jimmy Radosta of Oregon’s Planned Parenthood. —BS
Trump will launch a nuclear weapon.
The risk is not nil. Multiple political opponents—including Marco Rubio—have warned that Trump lacks the temperament to oversee America’s 2,000 nuclear missiles. And it’s not exactly reassuring that the nation most likely to provoke Trump—North Korea—shares the Pacific Rim with Portland.
But that bleak scenario depends on dozens of other things going wrong, all of them outside your (and Trump’s) control. Say a prayer that the White House keeps its cool, and focus your energy elsewhere. —AM
Thousands of Oregonians will lose their health insurance with the elimination of Obamacare.
The biggest headlines surrounding the Affordable Care Act in Oregon centered on the high-profile failure of the state’s online health care exchange, Cover Oregon. But the biggest effect of President Obama’s policy on citizens was different: the federally funded expansion of the Oregon Health Plan, which insures low-income Oregonians.
One of candidate Trump’s most consistent pledges was that he would treat the ACA like an unqualified contestant on The Apprentice. Here’s what his position paper on health care says: “On day one of the Trump Administration, we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare.”
State Rep. Mitch Greenlick (D-Portland) has been working on health care policy for more than 50 years. He says Trump and his supporters don’t understand what the ACA is. “I don’t think they know what the hell they are talking about,” says Greenlick. “They think it’s Obama and, therefore, it’s bad.”
Oregon has already applied for an extension of federal funding for its innovative coordinated care organizations, which could bring in $1.25 billion next June. And Trump is already walking his promises back. Early indications are that Trump may retain key elements of the ACA, such as requiring insurers to cover pre-existing conditions and allow parents’ coverage to extend to their children until age 26.
But if Trump goes along with critics of Medicaid expansion and pulls the plug, that could be a disaster. “Besides having horrible health outcomes, we’d have horrible economic outcomes,” Greenlick says. “That would take billions of dollars out of Oregon’s economy.” —NJ
Mexican immigrants will be deported.
Trump has made one thing abundantly clear: He will build that wall. Or maybe a fence. Maybe a wall and a fence.
Whether Trump ever succeeds in building anything—Mexico has said it won’t cough up one peso for the project—he’s not relenting on his vehement anti-immigrant rhetoric, telling 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl on a Nov. 13 broadcast that he wasn’t ruling out the possibility of a mass deportation of undocumented immigrants. His first priority, he says, is the removal of undocumented immigrants with criminal records.
His threats of deportation—and the acceleration of immigration policy under President Obama—tear at the fabric of Oregon, where between 120,000 and 160,000 undocumented immigrants, mostly Latinos from Mexico, live in mixed-status families. Many of those families include children who are U.S. citizens, whose lives would be turned upside down if their parents were deported.
“I cannot imagine the magnitude of the pain,” says Francisco Lopez, political director of Portland’s Hispanic Voice for Community Change. “It’s beyond what we’ve seen before.”
It’s also likely Oregon’s annual harvests of Christmas trees, hazelnuts and strawberries will suffer, says Jeff Stone, executive director of the Oregon Association of Nurseries. “We have a hard time getting enough labor as it is,” he says. “Uncertainty does not help.”
Carmen Rubio, executive director of Latino Network in Portland, says her group will align with others to ensure no one’s rights are trampled. “We’re going to demand that our communities are respected,” she says, “and that justice prevails for all of us.” —BS
LGBTQ rights will be rolled back.
There are a range of threats to LGBTQ protections, although some safeguards are more at risk than others.
Amy Herzfeld-Copple of Basic Rights Oregon says overturning same-sex marriage would be difficult, because the president can’t simply change Supreme Court rulings at his discretion.
“The law is very strong that once people are married it can’t be taken away,” says Herzfeld-Copple. “It’s unlikely according to national legal partners. Courts generally respect prior [Supreme Court] rulings.”
Similarly, Herzfeld-Copple says, many of the Obama administration’s landmark LBGTQ inclusive efforts, such as the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which were congressional acts, would also be more difficult to undo.
Other protections are more vulnerable, such as anti-discrimination acts and protections for the trans community through health care. Herzfeld-Copple notes a lot will depend on the makeup of the Trump administration and what it targets. The onus will now be on states to play a stronger role as advocates and places of sanctuary. Oregon, one of the most LGBTQ-progressive states, has a broad array of protections, including a ban on conversion therapies that try to “cure” kids of being gay.
“We’ve seen really encouraging statements from officials in counties and cities,” says Herzfeld-Copple, “and we are positioned well with a strong governor. A lot will depend on how much the new administration can have an impact over federal law and orders.” —PM
Poor kids will go hungry more often.
Trump hasn’t been specific about poverty programs. His tax plan, however, would slash an estimated $6.2 trillion in revenue from the federal budget, according to the Tax Policy Center in Washington, D.C.—with most of the benefit accruing to the top 1 percent of Americans. Trump has also pledged not to cut the military, and to cut at least 1 percent from other agencies to fund the tax cuts, slashing the safety net.
When House Speaker Paul Ryan endorsed Trump in June, Trump pointed to Ryan’s vision for how to address poverty as a point of agreement, and Ryan has not been short on specifics about poverty programs. The House budget proposal from June would cut $3.7 trillion in programs to low- and middle-income families if you include cuts to Medicaid, according to an analysis by the Washington, D.C., think tank Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
Oregon’s projected budget deficit could exacerbate the effects of a Ryan/Trump budget. “These are all concerns to vulnerable populations,” says Oregon Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer (D-Portland). —RM
Trump will reverse efforts to halt climate change
New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert, among the country’s pre-eminent climate-change reporters, tweeted Nov. 9, “Yesterday may have been the worst single day for planet Earth since the end of the Cretaceous.”
The election of a climate-change-denier-in-chief may not really be the death knell for the planet as we know it: Truth be told, the chances were slim for humanity already. It’s possible to argue that the Paris climate-change accord, which Trump has pledged to overturn and which committed nearly every country in the world to lowering greenhouse gas omissions, wasn’t likely to be enforced anyway.
The Environmental Protection Agency rules designed to lower carbon-fuel emissions are likely to be revoked by the new administration or overturned by a newly conservative Supreme Court.
The result is no cap on fossil fuels and a steadily warming planet, close to reaching a point at which there will be no way to limit global warming.
“Things just went from really, really bad to worse,” says Adrianna Voss-Andreae, who founded the environmental group 350PDX. She spoke to WW through tears. “I’m a mom with young kids. And it’s hard to fathom.”
But cities like Portland have capacity to meet a substantial portion of international emissions goals. “Because cities are where the carbon is, climate actions delivered by mayors have an enormous effect,” says Josh Alpert, director of special projects for C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.—RM
Free-speech rights will wither.
Attacks on the First Amendment could range from a crackdown on pornography and strip clubs to curtailing a free press.
That second possibility is more grave—and more likely.
In February, Trump pledged to “open up those libel laws, so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.” He explicitly named the county’s foremost papers—The Washington Post and The New York Times, in particular—as his adversaries. (And this was before their stories on his tax returns or his admitting to sexual assault.)
The most immediate threat to the practice of journalism even without a Trump administration was probably billionaire-backed lawsuits, akin to the one funded by Peter Thiel against the now-defunct website Gawker. Thiel now serves on Trump’s transition team.
“What we saw there is the power of money; the power of money can undo civil liberties and civil rights,” says Mat dos Santos, legal director of the ACLU of Oregon.
The court’s interpretation of libel protections, notably in New York Times v. Sullivan, could be overturned through an amendment to the Constitution or a radical overhaul of the courts. But neither is remotely likely, says the Media Law Resource Center. And Oregon has exceptionally strong protections for frivolous so-called SLAPP suits.
Dos Santos pledges to keep fighting. “Free speech rights embedded in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution have been in place for centuries and have been protected by the ACLU and other groups for at least a century. We think they’re not going anywhere.” —RM
The deal would have lowered duties on footwear companies like Nike doing business in Asia. A spokesman for Nike declined to comment on the deal’s demise. But the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America calculated the deal would have lowered 18,000 taxes on U.S. businesses, possibly saving consumers money at checkout.
Some on the left aren’t mourning the loss. Shanti Lewallen, a Working Families candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2016, campaigned against trade agreements like TPP, arguing they represent a race to the bottom in terms of global wages. “I think the Nikes of the world will be heartened by a President Trump,” he says, “who on the campaign trail stated that American workers are paid too well.” —BS
There will be more homeless people, because federal dollars for affordable housing will dry up.
As with many other policies, Trump has been silent on this. Housing appears to be a low priority for him—one reason for cautious optimism that housing dollars won’t completely disappear.
If Trump includes housing in his infrastructure plan, that could mean dollars for housing. And the two key pieces to federal housing policy—rent assistance and the tax breaks for building housing—assist poor people but line the pockets of developers.
“They benefit private property owners and landlords,” says Kurt Creager, director of the Portland Housing Bureau. “I don’t see that changing going forward.”
The tax credits awarded to developers to build affordable housing have powerful senators in their corner.
U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who is chair of the Senate Finance Committee, has co-sponsored a bill to expand low-income housing tax credits with the ranking Democrat, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). Home builders are lobbying to expand that tax credit.
But Trump is also likely to slash federal spending—eliminating any gains—and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is vulnerable, like any federal agency other than the Department of Defense.
“In terms of the priorities, I didn’t hear one word the entire election about housing,” says City Commissioner Nick Fish. “And Republicans are always targeting HUD.” —RM
Pay equity and workplace child care are lost causes.
“Equal pay for equal work.” That was Ivanka Trump’s pledge on behalf of her father to female voters in the U.S.
Trump, though, already has a poor track record. The Boston Globe reported in June that Trump paid female campaign aides 35 percent less than their male counterparts. And child care? All Trump thinks companies need to offer working parents are four walls, a warm body and a box of Legos.
“You know it’s not expensive for a company to do it: You need one person or two people, and you need some blocks, you need some swings, you need some toys,” he said last October. “It’s something that can be done I think very easily by a company.”
More than on most issues, Trump makes noises about wanting to help: He claims he supports giving new moms six weeks of paid time off, for example. But it’s difficult to believe he’ll do so, since he offers about as much detail about how he’ll pay for this as how he’ll pay for the wall. —BS
Gun control will be abandoned, and gun violence will increase.
Forget about gun control at the federal level. Trump has shown no interest in limiting firearms.
“The government has no business dictating what types of firearms good, honest people are allowed to own,” he says in a position paper. “The right of self-defense doesn’t stop at the end of your driveway. That’s why I have a concealed carry permit.” During the campaign, Trump said mass shootings in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., would have ended differently if victims had been armed.
Jenn Lynch, spokeswoman for the Oregon Alliance for Gun Safety, says this election will further delay action at the federal level requiring background checks. “More people are going to die in the interim than if we had elected a president willing to push those through,” Lynch says. ”Our charge to make something happen federally has realistically disappeared for the next four years.”
State-level gun control efforts are Lynch’s hope. For example, three gun safety measures passed in Nevada, Washington and California last week, which extended background checks. In her election night victory speech last week, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown teed up the issue for the 2017 legislative session. “Now, I’m asking you,” she said to the crowd at the Oregon Convention Center. “Will you join me in the fight to pass common-sense gun legislation?”
President Trump will not. Oregonians might. —SJ
The Portland Police Bureau’s settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice will be gutted.
The U.S. Department of Justice under President Obama scrutinized police departments that had “patterns and practice” of excessive force. That included Portland, which in 2014 agreed to reform police officers’ interactions with the public, especially people with mental health problems.
Reforms are already underway, and the Police Bureau has made strides to reduce the use of force. But a DOJ under an attorney general such as Kansas’ Kris Kobach may not have patience or interest in continuing to monitor the bureau.
Food products, such as avocados, could disappear under agricultural tariffs.
Trump’s promise to tear up existing trade agreements has been central to his campaign. That’s scary because Oregon is a heavily trade-dependent state.
Trump will have unilateral power to make decisions about trade deals due to the North American Free Trade Agreement’s implementation law, which appears to give the president power to levy tariffs without congressional approval. If he abolishes NAFTA with Canada and Mexico, and enacts a 35 percent tax on Mexican goods, as he’s suggested, then many products could disappear from Oregon shelves—or just get really expensive. Those include avocados, limes, coffee and tomatoes.
“I don’t think it would be feasible to actually withdraw from NAFTA,” says Rossitza Wooster, a Portland State University economics professor who specializes in international trade. “Our economies are so well interrelated. If we all of a sudden change the relationship with that market, it’s not difficult to convince anyone that that will have huge implications for us.”
But if Trump does keep his promise, an increase in price is likely. “For the consumers at home,” Wooster says, “we’ll probably have less of the products, and by the law of supply and demand, they’ll be more expensive.” —SJ
Trump might place Muslims in internment camps.
Trump’s Islamophobic claims have a historical precedent: the Japanese internment camps during wartime.
“The Japanese community were the first ones to reach out” after the election, says Laila Hajoo, director of the Islamic Social Services of Oregon State. “They said, ‘You people need to understand, we see this is a possibility for you because of what we suffered from.’ I was thinking, is history going to repeat itself? Are they going to feel justified for safety reasons to do what the Japanese Americans had to go through?”
Like Franklin D. Roosevelt, who enacted internment camps with an executive order in 1942, Trump would have the power to issue a similar order. It would be subject to judicial review, and could be struck down if the courts determined it was unsupported by statute or the Constitution.
What’s more likely to happen, says Hajoo, is discrimination on personal levels—against Muslim women who wear head scarves, for example. According to a recent study from California State University, more hate crimes were recorded against Muslims in 2015 than in any year since 9/11. —SJ & PM
White supremacist groups will flourish.
There’s no question that Trump’s victory has emboldened the white nationalist movement known as the “alt-right.” In fact, one of Trump’s first acts as president-elect was to appoint Stephen Bannon, who has given racist and anti-Semitic ideology a megaphone at Breitbart News, as his chief strategist.
“There should be no sugarcoating the truth here: Donald Trump just invited a white nationalist into the highest reaches of the government,” Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said Nov. 14. “Steve Bannon bears substantial responsibility for the open and disgusting acts of hatred that are sweeping across our nation.”
“Of course we’re concerned about that,” says Bob Horenstein, director of community relations for the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. “We always remind our community institutions to remain vigilant. As they say: If you see something, say something.” —AM
Trump will award Oregon’s top federal legal jobs to right-wingers.
The state’s most powerful federal law enforcement official, the U.S. attorney for Oregon, gets his or her job through presidential appointment. The president relies on congressional recommendations both for the U.S. attorney and for federal judgeships, which are even more coveted because they carry lifetime appointments. “The plum jobs are federal judgeships,” says Kerry Tymchuk, former chief of state for U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.).
Traditionally, the president relies on members of Congress from his party to suggest candidates. That means U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, rather than Oregon’s Democratic U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, will likely shape Oregon’s federal legal appointments.
Current U.S. Attorney Billy Williams, an apolitical career prosecutor, got his job by default when Amanda Marshall resigned in 2015. Williams will probably stay on until a permanent U.S. attorney is appointed—and because the job is one of the biggest political prizes Republicans can bestow, he’s unlikely to keep the gig.
Perhaps more significantly, Trump gets a chance to appoint a successor to Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain, who is retiring from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the country’s largest, busiest—and most liberal—appeals panel. —NJ
Organized labor will be gutted by right-to-work laws.
Organized labor dodged an artillery shell in March, when the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 on Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association—a case aimed at slashing the power of public employee unions by allowing members to opt out of paying dues.
Joe Baessler, statewide political director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, expects Trump’s victory will give anti-union forces a second shot—and this time they won’t miss.
“We are a year away from a Supreme Court case that takes away our ability to operate like we do right now,” says Baessler.
One of the greatest powers a president wields is the naming of Supreme Court justices. Trump has said he plans to replace the late Antonin Scalia with another conservative, probably ensuring unions lose the next test case.
What might that mean for Oregon? Baessler points to two Midwestern states where unions got their wings clipped in recent years by state legislation curtailing union activity. Those states used to be solidly blue. “Look at Michigan and Wisconsin,” Baessler says. “They both supported Trump.” —NJ
Federal lands in Oregon will be lost to cattle grazing and strip mining.
If Ammon Bundy’s occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge put conservationists on notice, President-elect Donald Trump’s victory has them on red alert.
The federal government owns 53 percent of Oregon, a higher percentage of federal ownership than in all but four states. On the campaign trail, Trump made ominous promises.
“We will allow energy production on federal lands in appropriate areas,” he said in a Sept. 15 speech to the New York Economic Club. “We will also open up vast areas of our offshore energy resources for safe production.”
That kind of talk scares conservation groups such as Oregon Wild. “This administration is going to provide the treasure trove for logging, mining, and oil and gas industries,” says Steve Pedery, Oregon Wild’s conservation director.
Timber companies, frustrated for decades at environmental protections that have sharply reduced timber harvests, are likely to push legislation reopening Oregon’s forests. Pedery says conservation groups have faced Republican presidents before and know how to mobilize support.
Yet the pet issue of the Bundy gang—turning federal lands over to the states—is unlikely to gain traction within a Trump administration. Trump was a rare Republican presidential hopeful who dismissed selling federal lands during the primary.
“I don’t like the idea because I want to keep the lands great,” Trump said. “And you don’t know what the state is going to do. I mean, are they going to sell if they get into a little bit of trouble?”
Public lands have an unlikely champion in Trump’s inner circle: Donald Jr., an ardent hunter of elephants and other big game. “Donald Jr. has been very outspoken about his opposition to public lands privatization,” Pedery says. —NJ
Light-rail projects will be scrapped for a decade.
Such projects require heavy federal funding—half or more. Under President Trump, such funding is unlikely to materialize.
Former Metro Council President David Bragdon, who now runs a New York advocacy group called TransitCenter, says the consensus in the transit world is Trump and the GOP-led Congress are likely to favor new highway projects in red states over urban train lines: “It would be a real stretch of optimism to expect this administration or this Congress to be anything other than antagonistic to transit.” —NJ
Over at Breitbart News—the springboard for Trump’s new chief White House strategist, Stephen Bannon—Intel takes a beating for using thousands of H-1B visas to fill temporary jobs for engineers.
Trump has pledged to curtail the use of H-1B visas in the hopes of forcing companies like Intel—Oregon’s largest private employer and one of the United States’ biggest users of H-1B visas—to first seek American-born workers.
“I remain totally committed to eliminating rampant, widespread H-1B abuse,” Trump wrote on his website in March. “I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program.”
William Moss, a spokesman for Intel, said the company wouldn’t comment on Trump’s stance. But past policy papers from Intel show the chipmaker believes strongly that its use of foreign workers boosts the U.S. economy through higher payroll taxes and the creation of additional jobs. —BS
Oregon will lose all influence in Washington, D.C.
This state was no powerhouse in the nation’s capital under President Barack Obama. It’s about to get much worse.
Of our seven members of Congress, only one—U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.)—belongs to the party in power. Walden, just elected to his 10th term, has plenty of juice in his caucus: He just finished his second cycle chairing the National Republican Congressional Committee, a post from which he helped Republicans build their majority. He’s also reportedly close to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, a fellow former radio broadcaster.
But depending on Walden to generate pork is dicey because Oregon is small, far from the Beltway and still overwhelmingly blue. After the Nov. 8 election, Oregon is one of only six states still ruled by a Democratic trifecta—the governor and both legislative chambers.
“We will have much less influence than we have had before,” says former U.S. Rep. Darlene Hooley (D-Ore.). “That’s just a reality.” —NJ
The U.S. Department of Justice will try to outlaw legal cannabis.
The power of states like Oregon to legalize cannabis essentially rests on a document from the U.S. Department of Justice called the Cole Memo. Issued in August 2013, the memo called for limiting federal prosecution of marijuana crimes in states where pot is legal. A memo is not strong legal grounds for a continued guarantee the feds won’t crack down, and leading candidates for Trump’s attorney general—including Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie—are no friends of cannabis.
But the new administration seems likely to stay out of our stash. Trump pledged on the campaign trail to let states decide this issue. It helps that marijuana has proved popular at the ballot box. Last week, California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine voters passed measures similar to Oregon’s on recreational use. It will soon be legal for nearly half of Americans to smoke up.
“It is obviously concerning,” U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) tells Marijuana Business Daily.“But…there were millions of Trump supporters who were part of this movement in the states that voted on [pro-cannabis ballot measures Nov. 8]. I do believe that the next administration will follow the policies of the Obama administration.” —RM
Trump will eliminate the U.S. Department of Education.
Trump likes his federal agencies like his women: slim and compliant. And he’s characterized the U.S. Department of Education as fat and sloppy, with too many responsibilities that should be in the hands of local school boards.
But undoing the agency would take an act of Congress—a feat unlikely to attract enough Republican support to pass. —BS
FEMA will fail to respond in the event of a Cascadian megaquake because the West supported Clinton.
Are we headed for another Katrina-style response if the Big One hits under the Trump administration? Or something worse? Trump has shown himself to be vindictive toward his political enemies—which Oregon clearly is. But the West Coast, even if it voted to soundly reject Trump, remains an economic powerhouse of our country. Observers of the Federal Emergency Management Agency say incompetence remains a bigger threat than spite.
“I’m not sure that even Donald Trump and Paul Ryan would deliberately fail to respond to an earthquake,” says City Commissioner Steve Novick, who has overseen part of Portland’s efforts to prepare for a Cascadian quake. “I would fear that the head of FEMA will be someone at least as unqualified as ‘heckuva job Brownie.’” —RM
Any progress on the Portland Harbor Superfund cleanup will be lost.
After 16 years of study, cleanup of the polluted Portland Harbor is likely to be on hold again. Trump has even floated the possibility of abolishing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That’s the regulatory body enforcing the cleanup of the Portland Harbor.
The best-case scenario: Republican leadership no longer requires polluters to clean up after themselves, and offers them tax breaks as an incentive.
“This could not happen at a worse time,” says City Commissioner Nick Fish. “If they eliminate the EPA or replace it with a toothless tiger, it could put our Superfund process in limbo.”
Environmentalists are holding out hope that the EPA will issue its formal decision for harbor cleanup by the end of the year, but cleanup will still require consensus from the polluting companies, who have no reason to come to the table and every reason to battle this in court.
“We’re looking at an unprecedented assault on the framework of environmental laws that has been in place for years,” says Bob Sallinger, conservation director for the Audubon Society of Portland. “A huge part of [Trump’s] four years will be fighting rollback of federal mandates. We’ll be looking for the Oregon [congressional] delegation to play a huge role in that.” —PM & RM
The Columbia River could become a freeway for fossil fuels.
In recent years, environmental advocate Columbia Riverkeeper and its allies have waged a series of battles, mostly successful, against projects that would transport fossil fuels across Oregon.
The projects include a series of proposed coal export terminals, a propane terminal at the Port of Portland, and a dock in Vancouver, Wash., that would be the largest shipper of North Dakota crude oil. That crude would arrive on oil trains passing through the Columbia River Gorge—another mode of transportation opposed by Columbia Riverkeeper and its allies.
Under a Trump presidency, those battles will begin again.
“We are very concerned that the federal government will not comply with the laws that require protecting clean water and endangered species—or gut the laws that protect them,” says Brett VandenHeuvel, Columbia Riverkeeper’s executive director.
Government agencies—including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (which oversees pipelines), the U.S. Department of Transportation (trains), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (marine terminals)—have ultimate authority over whether fuels can travel to and through Oregon. Trump has pledged to eviscerate those agencies.
He says he “will reduce and eliminate all barriers to responsible energy production, creating at least a half million jobs a year, $30 billion in higher wages, and cheaper energy” and “unleash America’s $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil and natural gas reserves, plus hundreds of years in clean coal reserves.” —NJ
Violence against women could spike.
The genital-grabbing president-elect’s behavior and campaign bluster has ignited concern that violence against women will soar.
“The fear of escalation of violence against women is very real,” says Erin Ellis, executive director of the Sexual Assault Resource Center in Beaverton. “When we have a national leader spewing such deplorable rhetoric around devaluing the status of women, we now set a new tone for our children around what is acceptable.”
“The campaign rhetoric is an open invitation to everyone that we no longer are practicing tolerance and acceptance and inclusion, and that women are valued on their appearance,” Ellis says. But she and others are ready to defend women’s safety.
“Our agency has been open for 40 years,” she says. “We are not going anywhere.” —SJ
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) just became a huge deal.
Walden represents most of the state east of the Cascades, and while he’s held office in Oregon nearly continuously since 1988, he has gotten less attention than his seven Democratic colleagues. That will change now with Republican President Donald Trump in the White House—alongside a congressional majority that Walden, 59, helped build as chairman of the Republican Congressional Candidate Committee for the past two elections.
Here’s what you should know about Walden.
1. He’s from pioneer stock.
In a state where fewer than half the residents were born in Oregon, Walden traces his ancestry to settlers who arrived by wagon train in 1845.
2. He’s part of a political (mini-)dynasty.
Walden’s father, Paul, served three terms in the Oregon House representing Hood River. After graduating from the University of Oregon, Greg Walden worked for U.S. Rep. Denny Smith (R-Ore.) and then won a seat in the Oregon House in 1988, also representing Hood River.
3. Tragedy shaped his political career.
In 1993, Walden, then Oregon House majority leader, was preparing to run for governor against a former Senate president named Dr. John Kitzhaber (D-Roseburg). Walden and his wife, Mylene, discovered their second, not-yet-born son had a heart ailment. Walden abandoned the governor’s race and surrendered his House seat. His son died 27 hours after being born.
4. A scandal brought him to Congress.
U.S. Rep. Wes Cooley (R-Ore.) replaced longtime incumbent Rep. Bob Smith in 1994 in the 2nd Congressional District. But Cooley was forced to resign after he was caught lying about his military record. Smith came back for a term but anointed Walden his successor. Walden won election in 1998 and has held the seat ever since.
5. He’s got friends in high—and low—places.
When Vice President-elect Mike Pence served in Congress from 2001 through 2012, the former radio broadcaster built a strong relationship with Walden, who had owned two Hood River radio stations. A strong advocate for farmers, ranchers and timber interests, Walden has also supported a key Portland industry—he co-founded the House Small Brewers Caucus in 2007.
The blue bubble of Oregon is not immune to ignorance. This month, before and after Election Day, Portland-area schools were targets of racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic invective. At Lake Oswego High School, administrators on Nov. 1 discovered a Facebook post from a former student encouraging seniors to “create a club called Ku Klux Klub and find every black kid and sacrifice them.” At Reed College on Nov. 12, unknown vandals scrawled messages that included, “The white man is back in power you fucking faggots.”
Carole Smith Disliked Even Before Lead Crisis
A poll released by Portland Public Schools on Nov. 9 shows that former Superintendent Carole Smith was deeply unpopular with Portland voters even before the full weight of the district’s lead crisis crashed down on her. The poll, conducted June 2-6 just as details were emerging about the extent of PPS’s environmental hazards, showed Smith had a favorability rating of 36 percent. The School Board that eventually forced her departure didn’t fare much better, though. It had a favorability rating of just 40 percent, according to the Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates survey of 300 voters. By comparison, Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler notched a 70 percent approval rating, and 74 percent of respondents approved of Gov. Kate Brown’s performance. Teachers enjoyed the most support, with 79 percent approval.
East Portland’s Neighborhood Associations Underfunded
An audit of the city’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement found that East Portland’s neighborhood associations receive dramatically fewer resources per resident from the agency than other parts of the city. The East Portland coalition of neighbors receives $2 per resident while the Central Northeast Neighbors Coalition receives nearly $6 a person, City Auditor Mary Hull Caballero’s staff found. Funding “is based on a historical formula of unknown origin,” and despite years of repeated studies no remedy has been proposed, the audit noted. During the most recent budgeting process, it was decided not to fix the inequity “until the City Council opts to provide more funding for all community-engagement programs. This approach effectively locks current disparities in place,” the audit said. City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who overseas the ONI, responded to the audit with a formal commitment “to develop a long-term strategic plan for a more equitable funding strategy.”
Give!Guide Donations Top $400,000
Willamette Week’s annual Give!Guide is live and accepting donations at giveguide.org. Giving has surpassed $400,000 and 2,000 donors. If you give Nov. 17, you’ll be eligible to win a prize package from the Portland Thorns and Timbers.
Portland Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler is expected to announce today that this city will continue to serve as a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants threatened with deportation.
Wheeler’s declaration comes in the faces of threats by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to crack down on what are called “sanctuary cities” by withholding federal funds.
“Portland is a city that values inclusion, diversity, and has been welcoming to thousands of people from around the world who now proudly call the Rose City home,” Wheeler tells WW.
“We will always see ourselves as a sanctuary city, and we will continue to be welcoming to everyone. President-Elect Donald Trump will be the president of all of America, and that requires an understanding of the values that drive Portland and other cities. These are our values.”
Trump hasn’t spelled out the details of his threat to withhold federal funds. It seems like likely, though, that he’s regurgitating the Republican talking point on cities that resist the Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s request to local law-enforcement to hold undocumented people in jail after an arrest so that feds can deport them.
But Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese, who runs local jails, is unlikely to change the department’s current practice of ignoring requests from ICE to hold people for an extra two business days.
(The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
To change its policy would defy a U.S. District Court ruling from 2014. In that case, the judge ruled that Clackamas County had violated a woman’s constitutional rights by holding her at ICE’s request.
A newly reconfigured Supreme Court could reverse that ruling. In the meantime, there’s not much the Republicans could do. That doesn’t mean they won’t try to withhold funding.
“There’s reason to think that President-elect Donald Trump might do that,” says Mat dos Santos, legal director at the civil-liberties group, ACLU of Oregon. “Now we also strongly believe that that would unconstitutional.”
San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle all have sanctuary-city laws at the local level; Portland does not. In Oregon, it’s a state law that generally forbids state and local government resources from using public resources to enforce immigration laws.
The idea behind the laws is at least in part that everyone will be safer if undocumented immigrants can go to the police with information on crimes without fearing that they or whoever they are reporting will necessarily be deported.
“Immigrants are really deeply rooted in our communities and our families particularly in the Portland metro area,” says Dos Santos. “Having police help ICE carry out mass deportation will cause human suffering as families are torn apart. On a purely human emotional level, it’s important.”
Anti-immigrant groups are backing a ballot measure to repeal the law, while civil liberties groups see ways that the state or the city could further protect immigrants by declining to share information with the federal authorities.
Civil liberties groups say ICE seeks to deport undocumented people in cases where police charge someone for a minor crime.
“The tamale lady gets a violation because she’s selling on the street corners, and suddenly she’s being deported,” says Dos Santos.