Update on the Oregon Ballot Measure Archive Project, 1959-2007

The Ballot Measure Archive Project (BMAP) is invaluable for anyone researching Oregon legal history. You can find the digital archives at:

Portland State University (PSU), Special Collections & University Archives. (Currently, find the direct link under “More Collections. 

Brief Description:

“The Ballot Measure Archive Project (BMAP) was a five-year project led by Josh Binus and included over 120 researchers, mostly Portland State University undergraduates. Josh Binus, a public historian and Portland State University history instructor, began the project in 2004 to document and preserve surviving evidence from Oregon’s history of direct democracy. The State of Oregon has earliest established initiative and referendum system in the United States and that has been one of the most active users of the system during that time. The project goal was to collect the materials not being accessioned by the Oregon State Archives, because a substantial number of players in the initiative system work outside of the state government. Author: Pete Asch

Visit the PSU Special Collection site for more information and access to the files.

Thank you Josh and PSU!

Oregon Attorney General’s 2014 Public Records and Meetings Manual

The  Oregon Attorney General’s 2014 Public Records and Meetings Manual is available for viewing and purchase.  (The last edition was published in 2011.)

Please visit the ODOJ website for information on downloading and ordering options.

Oregon Judicial Branch Four Year Report (2011-2014)

You can link directly to the 2011-2014 Oregon Judicial Branch Four Year Report or, if that link doesn’t work, visit the OJD homepage or the OJD Media Releases page and start searching. You’ll find lots of other interesting information, too.

Statistics on litigants without lawyers are staggering and deeply disturbing. People need lawyers. Navigating the legal system, the court system, and indeed, even just reading a contract you think you want to sign requires a level of legal literacy and analysis beyond what even the best legal researcher can acquire. People need the advice of lawyers. But that costs money.

Excerpt from the report:

Healthy Courts Provide Resources for Self-Represented Litigants:

Statistics show that self-represented litigants don’t think they can afford an attorney, don’t believe they need an attorney for their particular case, do not obtain any advice from an attorney about their case, are likely to be low income, and may have language or cultural barriers. Guaranteed by law, the right to represent oneself in court is a citizen’s choice. The economic slump of recent years has forced more middle income litigants to represent themselves as well, increasing the need for courts to ensure that these individuals receive adequate access to justice. OJD’s efforts to prepare self-represented litigants for court include self-help resources and staff, public law libraries, statewide forms, and user-friendly technology. A nationwide average of 80% of family law cases will involve at least one, and often two, self-represented litigants. The manner in which judges handle these cases in court determines whether or not both parties will receive a fair hearing. Courtroom practices by judges and staff, such as shifting from legal terminology to plain language; explaining what will occur during the hearing and reviewing what the legal issues are; pointing out who has to the convince the judge and how strong the evidence has to be; and prompting the parties to provide information represent the court’s commitment to safeguarding
justice for the self-represented.

Oregon eCourt technology will upgrade OJD’s online processes and resources for self-represented litigants, including online interactive forms. A statewide forms project is in the works and will base a series of interactive online forms on Multnomah County Circuit Court’s current Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) TurboCourt™ form for restraining orders. The interactive form program asks the applicant a series of questions, populating the form with the applicant’s answers, and results in a document to submit to the court that complies with applicable rules without the need for court staff assistance in filling out the form….” [Link to full report.]

2014 Promulgated Amendments to the Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure (ORCP)

December 6, 2014


The following amendments to the Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure have been promulgated by the Council on Court Procedures for submission to the 2015 Legislative Assembly. Pursuant to ORS 1.735, they will become effective January 1, 2016, unless the Legislative Assembly by statute modifies the action of the Council.

The amended rules are set out with both the current and amended language. New language is shown in boldface with underlining, and language to be deleted is italicized and bracketed.

Please note that, during its December 6, 2014, meeting, the Council made non-substantive changes to ORCP 1, 9, 27, 46, 54, and 68 in order to conform to the conventions and language of the existing Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure and/or to clarify the intention of the rule changes. The specific sections amended at the meeting were:

ORCP 1 A, 1 F
ORCP 9 B, 9 C
ORCP 27 B, 27 B(3), 27 B(4), 27 D
ORCP 46 B(2), 46 D
ORCP 54 B(3)
ORCP 68 A(2), 68 C(2)(a), 68 C(4)(a), 68 C(5)(a), 68 C(5)(b), 68 C(5)(b)(i)

Link to full 12/6/14 ORCP report.

Oregon Legislative “Advocacy 101″ (12/15/14)

Monday, December 15, 2014, 6-8 p.m., in downtown Portland:

‘This “Advocacy 101” event will provide community members with tips on how to be an effective advocate for your community or neighborhood during this upcoming 2015 state legislative session and 114th Congress. A panel of elected officials, congressional staff, and professional advocates will share their advice and answer questions about how the community can make an impact on public policy at the state and federal levels.

Sen. Michael Dembrow (HD 23)
Rep. Jennifer Williamson (HD 36)
Grace Neal, Field Director for U.S. Senator Ron Wyden
Felisa Hagins, SEIU Local 49

Information you will gain from the panel:
How to work effectively with legislators and their staff
Strategies for mobilizing your base of membership or coalitions to maximize advocacy impact
Lobbying do’s and don’ts

Monday, December 15, 2014
6:00 to 8: 00 p.m.
Portland Building, 2nd floor, Auditorium
1120 SW 5th Ave., Portland

Is a Backpack Inventory by Police a Warrantless Search? Oregon v. Hite (2014)

November 05, 2014: Court of Appeals: State of Oregon v. Jason Paul Hite (A150288 – Lane County Circuit Court)


“Defendant seeks reversal of a number of convictions related to identity theft 3 and forgery. Before trial, defendant moved to suppress evidence found in his backpack after he was arrested on an outstanding warrant, arguing that the police unlawfully searched the backpack. The trial court ruled that the police were required to inventory the contents of the backpack before taking defendant to jail, and it denied the motion to suppress. On appeal, defendant argues, among other things, that the search was unlawful because it was not conducted pursuant to a facially valid inventory policy that sufficiently limited the scope of the inventory. The state contends that the inventory policy is sufficiently limited and, alternatively, that the search was a constitutionally permissible search incident to defendant’s arrest. We agree with defendant that the inventory policy is unconstitutionally overbroad. We reject the state’s alternative argument because the state did not raise it in the trial court and, if it had, defendant might have been able to create a different record on the issue. Accordingly, we reverse as to the challenged convictions….” [Link to full case.]

(Oregon Constitution Article 1, Section 9)

Oregon Legal Self-Help at your Fingertips

Our favorite and first-stop legal self-help website is Oregon Law Help.

If you need legal information and referrals on domestic violence, custody, child support, landlord-tenant, foreclosure, bankruptcy, taxes, wages and hours, employment discrimination, public benefits, immigration and workplace safety, elder law, estate planning, disability law, special education, or related topics, make Oregon Law Help one of your first stops on the Internet.

Your next stops might be 211 Info, your public library, and your public law library. And there’s more! But we’ll save those for another blog post.

Courthouse Romance? Oregon Judges Perform Weddings: Who, What, Where, and How (the Why is up to you)

Courthouses can be happy places on rare occasions and weddings can cheer up the otherwise gloomy edifices since wedding parties usually dress more colorfully than litigants (not to mention smile more) and that can brighten up almost everyone’s day (except of course for gloomy Gus in the bushes shouting “don’t do it!“)

For example, visit the Washington County Circuit Court Weddings website for information about getting married at their Courthouse.

Or, what about Clatsop County Courthouse?

Check with your own county’s Circuit Court or the county where you want to be married. Use the OJD Court Information Finder tool at their website to find a courthouse.

And don’t forget that marriage license, which you’ll get from a county government office. (The County Circuit Courts are state government offices, the Judicial Branch of state government.)

Now about those engagement rings: The Law of Engagement Rings (with a side of ring-flingers and Oregon cows)