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Healthy Democracy Oregon
Mission and Purpose
Healthy Democracy Oregon (HDO) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization founded to improve the initiative voting process in the U.S. state of Oregon. The purpose of HDO is to establish and help administer the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review (Oregon CIR) , a process that allows Oregon citizens to deliberate about and evaluate statewide ballot initiatives.
Healthy Democracy Oregon came to life in early 2007. The co-founders, Tyrone Reitman and Elliot Shuford, were colleagues at the University of Oregon's Public Policy Master's Program. Reitman and Shuford studied and debated the merits of various deliberation methods including the Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR). CIR is the application of the Citizens’ Jury process to ballot initiatives.
According to Tyrone Reitman, Ned Crosby, founder of the Jefferson Center where the Citizens’ Jury was developed, and his wife Patricia Benn advocated for the use of the CIR in Oregon in 2003. In 2006 Reitman and Shuford decided to advocate the use of the CIR in Oregon. Reitman and Shuford met with Crosby and Benn to discuss cooperating on a project to promote the use of the CIR in Oregon. Crosby and Benn agreed to fund the project. To carry out the project HDO was founded in 2007. Beginning in 2009, some funding for HDO came from an organization, Promoting Healthy Democracy, of which Crosby was a co-founder.
In 2009 the Oregon Legislature approved a trial of the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review (Oregon CIR) to be held the following year. In 2010 HDO organized two Oregon CIRs, which produced Citizens’ Statements that appeared in the official 2010 Oregon Voters’ Pamphlet. In 2011 the Oregon Legislature passed a law creating an official Citizens’ Initiative Review Commission charged with administering the Oregon CIR as a permanent part of Oregon’s statewide initiative process.
In 2011 HDO created a new, related organization, Healthy Democracy Fund (HDF). HDF’s activities include raising funds to sustain the Oregon CIR, further developing the CIR process, and applying the CIR method to public policy issues in legislatures in a process called Citizens’ Policy Review.
Specializations and activities
HDO works with the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review Commission to administer the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review. In addition, HDO promotes and raises funds for the Oregon CIR.
Major projects and events
In 2008 HDO conducted a successful field test following the format of the Citizens’ Initiative Review. In 2009 the Oregon Legislature approved a trial of the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review to be held the following year. In 2010 HDO organized two Oregon CIRs, in each of which a randomly selected sample of 24 Oregon citizens learned and deliberated for five days about an initiative that was to appear on the November 2010 Oregon statewide ballot.
The first Oregon CIR held August 9-13, 2010 concerned Measure 73, a proposed statute that would impose mandatory minimum criminal sentences for certain repeat offenses concerning driving while intoxicated and for certain sexual offenses. The second Oregon CIR held August 16-20, 2010 concerned Measure 74, a proposed statute that would have created a regulated distribution system for medical marijuana in Oregon. During each Oregon CIR the participants, called “panelists,” produced a Citizens’ Statement evaluating the initiative that they had deliberated about. Those Citizens’ Statements were printed in the official 2010 Oregon Voters’ Pamphlet. John Gastil and Katherine Knobloch conducted a study of the 2010 Oregon CIRs. The report of the results of the study found that the Oregon CIR panelists had engaged in deliberations of good quality and had produced Citizens’ Statements containing new and useful information for voters.
In 2012 HDO plans to promote and raise funds for the 2012 Oregon CIR and to work with the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review Commission to administer the 2012 Oregon CIR.
HDO is funded through grants from foundations and nonprofit organizations, contributions from HDO board members, and private donations from Oregon citizens. HDO does not receive funding from the state of Oregon.
Healthy Democracy Oregon. (2010). Citizens’ Initiative Review 2010, Measure 73, Interim Final Report. Portland, OR: Healthy Democracy Oregon. http://cirarchive.org/media/attachments/documents/M73_Final_Report.pdf
Healthy Democracy Oregon. (2010). Citizens’ Initiative Review 2010, Measure 74, Interim Final Report. Portland, OR: Healthy Democracy Oregon. http://cirarchive.org/media/attachments/documents/M74_Final_Report.pdf
Ned Crosby and John C. Hottinger. (2011). The Citizens Jury Process. Book of the States, 2011, pp. 321-325, http://knowledgecenter.csg.org/drupal/system/files/Crosby2011.pdf
John Gastil and Katherine Knobloch. (2010). Evaluation Report to the Oregon State Legislature on the 2010 Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review. http://www.la1.psu.edu/cas/jgastil/CIR/OregonLegislativeReportCIR.pdf
Healthy Democracy Fund, Programs and Projects, http://healthydemocracyfund.org/programs-projects/
Healthy Democracy Oregon, Citizens’ Initiative Review, http://healthydemocracyoregon.org/citizens-initiative-review
Oregon Citizens' Initiative Review, 2010, Measure 73. (2010). Citizens' Initiative Review of Measure 73. Salem, OR: Oregon Secretary of State. http://cirarchive.org/media/attachments/documents/statements/M73_Citizens_Statement.pdf
Oregon Citizens' Initiative Review, 2010, Measure 74. (2010). Citizens' Initiative Review of Measure 74. Salem, OR: Oregon Secretary of State. http://cirarchive.org/media/attachments/documents/statements/M74_Citizens_Statement.pdf
Oregon Laws, 2011, Chapter 365, http://www.leg.state.or.us/11orlaws/sess0300.dir/0365.html
Oregon Secretary of State. (2010). Voters’ Pamphlet, Oregon General Election, November, 2, 2010, http://oregonvotes.org/doc/history/nov22010/guide/book13.pdf
Promoting Healthy Democracy, http://promotinghealthydemocracy.org/