RURAL ORGANIZING PROJECT

2020 ANNUAL REPORT


FOSTERING STRONG AND HEALTHY GROUPS, BUILDING RURAL LEADERSHIP, DEFENDING HUMAN DIGNITY AND ADVANCING DEMOCRACY FOR ALL


Building Community During a Pandemic

two people working with food supplies in the kitchen of the Community Building Center during COVID-19.

The coronavirus, economic recession and devastating wildfires exposed the gaps in social safety nets that leave rural communities without reliable access to emergency resources, food, housing, healthcare, childcare, internet and more. Rural Oregonians built dozens of mutual aid networks to feed neighbors, share health and safety information and make sure anyone who needs help gets it. In response to requests from our partners around town, ROP’s Community Building Center on Main Street in Cottage Grove turned into a resource sharing hub. We coordinated with dozens of service agencies, school district workers, faith communities and volunteers to make sure families struggling from layoffs and housing shortages, quarantining through COVID-19 and evacuating wildfires could get food boxes, hygiene supplies and hot meals with no questions asked, no limits and no barriers.

Breaking Rural Isolation

Through virtual gatherings, ROP brought together hundreds of rural community leaders and human dignity groups to share strategies, cross-pollinate ideas and support one another. We held our 29th annual Rural Caucus & Strategy Session online and have hosted 17 strategy sessions with 800 participants, ranging in topics from Creating a Culture of Safety & Security (during violent backlash at Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the state) to Rural Mutual Aid & Wildfire Response.

Demonstrators in Madras with anti-racism signs

We Ended the Last Jail Contract with ICE in Oregon.

After 3 years of organizing led by detained people, Columbia Gorge organizers, and dozens of other groups acting in solidarity across the state, we built enough people power to end the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contract at the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility (NORCOR), a public jail. Two hunger strikes led by people detained inside NORCOR demanding an end to inhumane treatment, a march, hundreds of solidarity rallies and thousands of neighbor-to-neighbor conversations paved the way for the NORCOR Board to vote unanimously to end the jail’s contract with ICE in August!

demonstrators rally to end the NORCOR jail's contract with ICE

Growing the Movement for Black Lives

Rural Oregonians gathered on street corners, in churches, parks and in car caravans to hold vigil for the Black and brown people killed by police. ROP supported longtime and emerging groups to form leadership teams, plan actions and create safety and security plans rooted in our values of community care. Clackamas County organizers focused that newfound energy into banning Confederate flags from school grounds, folks in Union County focused on expanding alternatives to policing and

leaders in Harney County are creating a monument to the first Black ranchers in their community.

From strategy sessions and hundreds of one-on-one conversations with leaders across rural Oregon came the Roadmap to a Thriving Rural Oregon, which outlines the priorities our communities need to move from barely surviving to thriving. The Roadmap connects the dots between organizing happening across our network’s 83 autonomous groups so we
can move together to ensure all rural Oregonians have what we need, including broadband internet, childcare, housing, healthy food, clean water and much more!

Defending Democracy

From neighbor-to-neighbor conversations about the issues to responding to voter intimidation, rural Oregonians have defended democracy in every county at every turn! ROP launched the Defend Democracy initiative to counter disinformation about who can vote and how to vote, to support all voters in safely accessing ballot drop boxes and to deescalate any electionrelated threats and intimidation. The initiative included the Defend Democracy hotline, toolkit and radio public service announcements. We received and responded to hotline calls ranging from overflowing ballot drop sites in Clatsop County to stolen yard signs in Lake County to armed people stopping voters at a ballot drop site in Springfield.

ROP member group Raices hands out STAND guides and PPE

The STAND Election Guide by and for rural Oregonians that shared easy-to-understand information on the ballot measures and how to vote in English and Spanish was distributed statewide through 36,000 paper copies, social media, and more than 19 community radio stations! We broadcast a special election edition of our Rural Roots Rising radio show and podcast to include our ballot measure recommendations, stories of human dignity groups organizing around the elections and helpful public service announcements for stations.

Human dignity groups called thousands of voters to talk about the issues, organized ballot pick-ups and deliveries to drop boxes and set up outside of health clinics to pass out personal protective equipment, register people to vote and hand out STAND Guides! Thanks in large part to rural communities getting out the vote, Oregon passed ground-breaking statewide ballot measures that advance democracy, racial justice, decriminalization, and access to drug treatment.

screenshot of a zoom meeting of young organizers

Inspiring Young Organizers

Our second Rural Organizing Fellowship has brought together a group of 10 rural organizers between 16 and 30 years old who are making change in their communities! This year’s cohort has been convening virtually to build their organizing skills, share strategies and take collective action together around the election, COVID-19 relief and catastrophic wildfires

Rural Roots Rising

We completed our first year-long season of Rural Roots Rising, our monthly podcast and radio show featuring rural organizers telling the stories of how and why they organize to build rural people power! Episodes featured how ordinary rural people have joined together to confront police brutality and systemic racism, built power to get more than 100 asylum seekers released from a federal prison in Yamhill County and forged new connections as more than 600 people celebrated the rich mosaic of cultures in Jefferson County! Listen to Rural Roots Rising on one of our 19 partnered community radio stations across Oregon or subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts.

rural roots rising podcast logo

What is the

RURAL ORGANIZING PROJECT?

26 NEW GROUPS JOINED THE NETWORK THIS YEAR!

ROP member groups take action all year round for human dignity and democracy. Across Oregon, our netowrk of 83 autonomous groups is building power and making change at the local and statewide level.

map of Oregon showing the numbers of ROP member groups in each county

BAKER

  • Baker Community Justice Project
  • Panhandle Community Alliance
  • Power of People: Eastern Oregon

BENTON

  • Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism
  • Corvallis Latin America Solidarity Committee
  • Linn-Benton Greens
  • Race Matters, First Congregational UCC
  • Rapid Action Community Response
  • Veterans For Peace, Linus Pauling Chapter 132

CLACKAMAS

  • Indivisible Clackamas

CLATSOP

  • Columbia Pacific Alliance for Social Justice
  • Indivisible North Coast Oregon
  • North Coast Progressive Action

COLUMBIA

  • Columbia County Coalition for Human Dignity

CONFEDERATED TRIBES OF WARM SPRINGS

  • Unite Warm Springs

COOS

  • Human Rights Advocates of Coos County

CROOK

  • Central Oregon Peacekeepers
  • PFLAG Central Oregon
  • Central Oregon Diversity Project

CURRY

  • Indivisible North Curry County

DESCHUTES

  • Central Oregon Diversity Project
  • Central Oregon Peacekeepers
  • Clergy for Justice
  • Embrace Bend
  • Indivisible Bend
  • KPOV 88.9 FM High Desert Community Radio
  • Mecca Bend
  • PFLAG Central Oregon
  • Peace and Social Justice Team of First Presbyterian Church
  • Redmond Collective Action
  • Sisters Indivisible
  • Sisters Fight for Social Justice

DOUGLAS

  • Support for Asylum Seekers and Immigrants

GILLIAM

  • NORCOR Community Resource Coalition
  • Rural Voices

GRANT

  • Grant County Positive Action

HARNEY

  • Rural Alliance for Diversity

HOOD RIVER

  • Gorge Ecumenical Ministries / Somos Uno
  • Gorge ICE Resistance
  • Hood River Latino Network
  • Hood River Rapid Response Team
  • NORCOR Community Resource Coalition

JACKSON

  • Peace House
  • Veterans for Peace Rogue Valley Chapter 156

JEFFERSON

  • Madras Key Club

JOSEPHINE

  • Josephine Social Justice Alliance
  • Southern Oregon Indivisible

KLAMATH

  • Klamath Peace Readers
  • Sustainable Klamath

LAKE

  • Indivisible Lake County

LANE

  • Blackberry Pie Society
  • Church Women United
  • Community Alliance of Lane County
  • Community Rights Lane County
  • Deadwood Resists
  • Florence Indivisible
  • Florence ORganizes
  • Cottage Grove Community United
  • Springfield-Eugene SURJ
  • Stand for Peace/Occupy Cottage Grove
  • Support for Asylum Seekers and Immigrants
  • Tucker’s Cupboard

LINCOLN

  • Acompañar
  • Central Oregon Coast Chapter of the National Organization for Women
  • Coastal Network
  • Coast Range Association
  • Lincoln County Progressive Project
  • PFLAG of the Oregon Central Coast

LINN

  • Albany Peace Seekers
  • Linn County Rapid Response Coalition
  • Linn-Benton Greens

MARION

  • Silverton Progressives

MORROW

  • Oregon Rural Action
  • Rural Voices

POLK

  • Polk Communities for Human Equality
  • Unidos Club at WOU

SHERMAN

  • Rural Voices

TILLAMOOK

  • Love Coalition
  • North County Racial and Social Justice

UMATILLA

  • Black Lives Matter March Pendleton
  • Economic Community for Healthy Opportunities
  • Oregon Rural Action
  • Raíces

UNION

  • Oregon Rural Action
  • Racial Justice Eastern Oregon

WALLOWA

  • Postcardia

WASCO

  • Gorge ICE Resistance
  • NORCOR Community Resource Coalition
  • Protect Oregon’s Progress / The Dalles
  • Indivisible
  • Wasco County Rapid Response Team

WASHINGTON

  • Adelante Mujeres
  • North Plains Grassroots

WHEELER

  • Rural Voices

YAMHILL

  • Progressive Yamhill
  • Unidos Bridging Community
  • West Valley Advocates

WASHINGTON STATE

  • Friends of Tyson Workers

Download our annual reports as PDF files:

2020 Annual Report (pdf, 1 Mb)

2019 Annual Report (pdf, 465 Kb)

English