Unite Oregon Commends Drug Policy Reform

Unite Oregon applauds Oregon’s law enforcement community, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, for commitment to reduce drug possession to a misdemeanor.


September 26th, 2016

CONTACT: Kayse Jama, Executive Director - (503) 913-5154 - [email protected]


PORTLAND, Oregon -- Unite Oregon applauds Oregon’s law enforcement community and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum for their commitment to reduce drug possession to a misdemeanor.

In Oregon today, even minor possession of some drugs is automatically considered a felony, which carries the substantial risk of jail or prison time. By reducing minor possession offenses to misdemeanors, up to 4,000 people per biennium could avoid the devastating effects of being convicted on felony drug charges. In Oregon, as in every community in the United States, incarceration disproportionately impacts people of color, rural, and low-income communities.

“The War on Drugs has been a failure,” said Kayse Jama, Executive Director of Unite Oregon. “Drug policies have devastated our community and contributed to the mass incarceration of people of color and low income communities. In addition, drug policies work against people who are struggling with addiction. Existing policies make it almost impossible for people to find safe and secure housing, meaningful employment, and recovery-related care.  As a member of the Attorney General’s End Profiling Work Group, I commend the law enforcement agencies’ drug policy reform recommendation. Given what we know about incarceration, this could have a significant impact on reducing drug convictions in our state."

However, this does not change Unite Oregon and over 70 other groups’ expectations to overhaul the criminal justice system, including ending profiling by law enforcement. We urge the Oregon State Legislature to pass meaningful End Profiling policy changes during its 2017 session that include drug policy reform, mandatory statewide training of law enforcement, recording pedestrian and vehicular stops, and new accountability practices. Unite Oregon looks forward to working with lawmakers and stakeholders to reduce the devastating impacts of incarceration and profiling on our communities.

Unite Oregon's profiling issue brief makes recommendations to the Workgroup on the Prevention of Profiling by Law Enforcement (WPPLE) in four core areas of police reform: Data Collection, Analysis and Reporting: Accountability Mechanisms: Training: and Procedural Justice. You can read more about it HERE 


Endorsing Organizations of the End Profiling Community Coalition
1000 Friends of Oregon Justice & Witness Ministry team Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon
AFT Oregon KBOO/Western Regional Advocacy Project Pacific NW Regional Council of Carpenters
Ainsworth UCC LULAC Portland Jobs with Justice
AMA Momentum Alliance PSU Las Mujeres
Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon MRG Foundation Rural Organizing Project
ASUO NAACP of Lance County Sankofa Collective Northwest
Basic Rights Oregon NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon SCAFE
Bus Project NAYA The Intertwine Alliance
CAUSA Oregon Northwest Workers' Justice Project Transit Justice Alliance
Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ Office of Youth Violence Prevention Unite Oregon
Common Cause OHEA UO MCC
Community Alliance of Lane County OPAL UO MEChA
Community Alliance of Lane Tenants Oregon AFL-CIO UO Multicultural Center
Consult Hardesty Oregon AFSCME Upstream Public Health
Criminal Justice Policy Research Institute Oregon SEIU Urban League of Portland
Don't Shoot PDX Oregon Education Association Voz Workers' Rights Education Project
DPO Latino Caucus Oregon Justice Resource Center Western States Center
Enlace Oregon Latino Health Coalition Womenspace (Eugene)
Equity Foundation Oregon Nurses Association Wozani
Fair Shot For All Oregon Research Institute YWCA
Family Forward Oregon Oregon Voice  
Forward Together OSCC Co-Board Chair (UO)  
Groundwork Portland Portland African American Leadership Forum  
Impact NW Pac/West Communications  
Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice Partnership for Safety and Justice  
Japanese Americans Citizens League PCUN  

Led by people of color, immigrants and refugees, rural communities, and people experiencing poverty, we work across Oregon to build a unified intercultural movement for justice.

Unite Oregon represents the merger of two strong organizations – Center for Intercultural Organizing (CIO) and Oregon Action (OA) – who together have decades of experience organizing immigrants, refugees, people of color, and low-income Oregonians to address racial and economic disparities and improve quality of life in our state.