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2017 Pacific Northwest/Hawaii Community Rights Update

June 2, 2017

Kai Huschke, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund regional organizer. Topics include Coos County, Oregon’s Community Bill of Rights for a Sustainable Energy Future, Lincoln County Oregon’s Freedom from Aerial Sprayed Pesticides ordinance and the History of Community Rights Organizing in Kauai, Maui and Hawaii.

Community Rights Organizing is not linear. It is multidimensional, and unexpected events happen in unpredictable places. However, people have been convinced that our organizing should happen in a linear, predictable fashion, but it doesn’t.

“There is a tremendous amount of opposition formulated against the measure there in Coos County…The corporate opposition there spent $1.3 million in a county of 60,000 people to kill the measure, and they were successful, unfortunately, within the vote. However, lots of things got revealed in that process, including how the corporations will do what they want to get what they want. I think that’s ticked a lot of people off to see that much corporate power wielded in a fairly quiet, sleepy community. And I think that’s got some people asking some deeper questions around who’s deciding what happens in our communities, which is really the bare bones where we want to get down to. The campaign was able to pull back more to the surface. Even thought eh win did not come at the ballot itself, those people are going to continue both for themselves and for the people with which they are connected in Colorado. That unity with respect to fossil fuel projects is starting to grow, and I think that’s a strength.”

“In Lincoln County they formulated a rights-based ordinance for freedom from aerial spray pesticide ordinance. They ran a campaign against the timber industry, also largely outspent like folks in Coos County. They actually won their vote…The next phase will be potentially set up. Will the county enforce the laws the people what to happen? Will the timber industry respect the law, or will they come after us with lawsuits, as we have seen in other parts of the country. So the next phase of the work is, in some ways, going to start place in Lincoln County.”


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