Articles Posted in County & Municipal Law Resources

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The Oregonian has posted the Oregon  Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability report to the Oregon Supreme Court on Marion County Circuit Court Judge Vance Day.

You can find the report’s link at their 1/25/16 article:

“Judge Vance Day should be ousted from job, in part for refusing to marry gays, commission says,” by Aimee Green, Oregonian, January 25, 2016.

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“Thinking About Designing Courthouses for Access to Justice,” posted on January 17, 2016
by Richard Zorza.

Courthouse construction is on the minds of all Oregonians. As long as the project managers, judges, courthouse employees, and other courthouse occupants and visitors don’t let the architects go all “let’s get an architecture prize!” on them, then taxpayers, judges, lawyers, and litigants may have a chance at getting the courthouses we need and want.

Courthouse design is a specialized field of study and experts read, practice, talk, build and learn to hone their craft.

If you’re getting a new or upgraded courthouse, even the “person on the street” will be consulted, either directly via surveys or indirectly when people “comment” on news stories about their local courthouses, but don’t forget that there are dozens of POVs (points of views) on exactly what the courthouse should look like or who it should serve over all others, so try to play nicely with others.

You can read a lot online about courthouse design, although you’ll also need to visit an architecture or engineering library to get the full picture – and talk and listen to the people who use, design, and furnish courthouses.


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When Oregon Laws are codified*, they can be scattered all over their corresponding legislative subject compilation, the Oregon Revised Statutes, so, unless you are a researcher with too much time on your hands, I recommend you start with one of the following resources until you become very familiar with all the new cannabis laws, statutes AND regulations – and there will be new cannabis laws until you die or until the world’s lights go out, whichever comes first:

1) Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS): the 2015 ORS, which has not yet been posted online, will be the first ORS with codified recreational cannabis statutes. Toss the word “cannabis” into the ORS search box. You might want to toss in the word “marijuana” just to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

2) Laws & Regs from OHA: Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP), which links to their OMMP Administrative Rules, Statutes and Legal Information webpage.

3) Laws & Regs from OLCC: Oregon Recreational Marijuana, which links to, among other legal treasures, their Recreational Marijuana Laws and Rules webpage.

4) I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you that just about each and every city and county in Oregon can also make laws about cannabis sales. See, e.g.Portland Policy Program or Tualatin or Gresham. To find your city’s or county’s laws or if these links break, search your city’s name and the words Oregon cannabis marijuana.

5) There are also federal laws, statutes and regulations, which the states ignore as they please, or not when they don’t please. Federal statutes and administrative laws about marijuana and other controlled substances, and related tax, banking, and insurance laws need to researched at federal government websites, e.g. this one and this one. You can research the U.S. Code and the CFR (including Executive Orders) from this GPO website, FDSYS. (You will need a full-text, searchable case law database to search for cases from the U.S. courts.)

More legal research tidbits for those who care:

Legislative and Measure Histories:

1) 2014 Measure 91 was a citizen initiative, so its original documents will be with the Secretary of State.

2) 2015 HB 3400 was a Legislative measure, so you will find most of its written and audio legislative history at the Legislature’s OLIS website.

3) Caselaw, courtesy of the Judiciary: Don’t forget there will also be a fast growing body of case law interpreting cannabis statutes and regulations, which will lead to more legislation and regulations, which will lead to more case law …. You will need a full-text legal database for this research, e.g. Fastcase, which all Oregonians have free access to via the State Law Library. (Direct link to the State of Oregon Law Library resources webpage.)

4) Last, mostly, don’t forget to research the regulations, compiled in the Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR), also at the Secretary of State’s website. You will need to learn how the OAR is updated if you want to track new Rules.

*Codification is, in a knobby nutshell, the process of turning the session law, which is compiled chronologically and published in Oregon Laws, into the subject-compilation known as the Oregon Revised Statutes. (I have blogged a lot about codification and session law vs. codes.)

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Portland archivists kick off “Oregon Archives Month with a smorgasbord of Portland-area archives. Join us on Saturday, October 3rd from 11 AM to 3 PM at the Portland Archives and Records Center….” [Link to Portland Area Archives website.]

Visit the celebration’s FAQ to find out more about the October 3rd event.

And don’t forget about your own archiving efforts: Read the OLR blog post on Save that Webpage to the Internet Archive!

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There has been a recent slew of articles and editorials on homelessness in Oregon, but this editorial stands out – and not just as a reminder that Street Roots is always worth reading.

The editorial needs a few footnotes, specifically citations to sections of the Oregon Constitution and other laws that are referenced. But their absence doesn’t take away from the gist.

Portland Business Alliance: We can do better than this,” by Israel Bayer, Street Roots editorial, 15 July 2015

The Portland Business Alliance took out a full-page ad in today’s Oregonian with the headline, “We can do better than this.” The ad goes on to say, “Our city is experiencing a crisis on our streets and in our parks….

On its face, the campaign seems like a practical call for housing and resources — something we can all agree on. In some ways, Street Roots doesn’t disagree. It’s time for bold action on housing and homelessness in our city. There’s simply no place left to turn.

Saying that, buying a one-page ad in The Oregonian and orchestrating a petition seems like a sensational attempt to force the mayor into responding to the issue.

Here’s the thing. When it comes to having tools at our disposal to combat our housing and homeless crisis we are hurting badly. Here is a short-list of tools used in other states that are prohibited at a local or state level….‘ [Link to full editorial.]

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This is an update to the previous 10/14 blog post: OJIN and OECI Access in Oregon County Law Libraries

The following Oregon public law libraries have in-library public, or staff-assisted, access to OJIN, OECI, or ACMS (court dockets). (But, these locations do not necessarily have access to any or all full-text filed documents. You may need visit Circuit Court records offices for those documents.)

Contact information for all Oregon county law libraries can be found at the OCCLL directory.

State of Oregon Law Library (ACMS & OJIN & OECI): 503.986.5640
Clackamas (OJIN & OECI): 503-655-8248
Josephine (OJIN & OECI): 541-474-5488
Lane (OJIN & OECI): 541-682-4337
Marion (OJIN & OECI & ACMS): 503-588-5090
Multnomah (OJIN & OECI): 503-988-3394

The other county law libraries do not have these court records databases, which is not to say you can’t ask your court’s Trial Court Administrator or Presiding Judge to allow access from your county law library.

For more information, link to OJCIN OnLine (Oregon Judicial Case Information Network) and the OJD eCourt homepage.

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If Access to Justice (A2J) is to be something other than a catch-phrase or a pipe dream, lawyers, judges, court administrators, and law librarians need to think, plan, and act creatively on micro and macro initiatives.

Many ideas are already on drawing boards, in app programmer hands, and in pilot project status.  Court Simplification is another A2J Big Idea and here are some places to read about it:

1) You can Google the phrase “court simplification” for information.

2) Richard Zorza’s Drake Law Review paper on simplification: “Some First Thoughts on Court Simplification: The Key to Civil Access and Justice Transformation.” [Link directly to PDF.]

…. To summarize the approach proposed here: We must find ways to radically simplify the legal dispute resolution system so it becomes much more accessible and so the costs of accessing and operating the system dramatically decrease. Such an increase in access will lead to an improvement in the justness and fairness of outcomes….” [Link to full article.]

3) Related Zorza post on courts, budgets, and access to justice, June 17, 2013: “Professor in Nederlands On Strategies for Access Change,” notes from the International Legal Aid Group meeting in the Nederlands

Richard Zorza homepage.

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If you want to report a local “code enforcement” problem or file a complaint, you need to figure out where to file the report.

This will depend on:
1) the type of complaint: private, public, noise, parking, etc. and
2) who has jurisdiction: that is, which government or private entity is responsible for the problem and which entity can help you fix the problem. Sometimes a problem needs both a private and a public solution.

For example, if the problem is in Washington County (Oregon), you can visit the county’s website, visit the Sheriff’s Code Enforcement website, or you can search online, e.g. sample search string: Washington county Oregon traffic signals complaints

In other cities and counties, start with your local government’s information office; they can direct you to the office that oversees the problem or direct to you to alternative dispute resolution resources.

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The Oregon legislature will consider a proposal this year to adjust the boundary between Multnomah and Washington counties so that approximately 160 acres, known as “Area 93,” would change jurisdiction.

Read about the Multnomah and Washington Counties plan at the Washington County Area 93 website and the Area 93 Updates page.

You can also follow 2013 House Bill 3067 from the Oregon Legislature’s website.