Welcome to Oregon Action!

Oregon Action is a statewide, multi-racial community organization dedicated to social justice.  We assist people to organize on their own behalf – with a focus on low-income people, people of color and others with limited access to traditional structures of power and policy-making.

Through leadership development and community organizing, we provide the organizational base for participatory democracy, just communities and a fair economy. More about Oregon Action…


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Faces of Cover Oregon – Matt


After some difficulty using the website, I saw a flier in the Ashland Library for assistance regarding Cover Oregon. I showed up and got excellent help from Michelle including submitting my information through the direct portal which gave me immediate approval. I haven’t had medical insurance for years now, so finally having medical coverage without deductibles or co-pays is wonderful. While it may take up to six weeks to get my number from them, I was also given a phone number to call if I have emergency medical needs. I’m cautiously optimistic that this will be an amazing improvement in my life.

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Faces of Cover Oregon – Maria

MariaFMaria – Medford, OR

Maria has a family of 5, she had coverage through her employer but her husband and daughter were uninsured because her employer recently dropped spouse/dependent coverage. “I was also hoping that I could find more affordable coverage through Cover Oregon than what was available through her employer (high deductible, not very accessible coverage).”

Maria found the application fair to be nice but not very helpful since they couldn’t answer several of her questions. She had been waiting since October through January and didn’t hear anything. “We were calling and they kept saying that it was in process.” Finally, after several months Cover Oregon finally informed her there was missing information on the application; she filled out the update and sent it in.

Maria came to Michelle later with questions about enrollment and when she saw the rates of the plans she was very upset since to have a reasonable premium, there is a very high deductible which was still not affordable still not affordable. A $5,000 deductable plan was 100% out of pocket for a doctor visit. “I said, what? I mean not even visiting a doctor, having to meet $5,000 first. So before my two family members can go to the doctor, they have to meet a $10,000 deductable. So for me this is just ridiculous…I was happy about Cover Oregon, but now I understand who is really benefitting from the tax credit: the insurance companies. My husband has waited five years with no health coverage, and now he has coverage he can’t really use.”

This is my frustration. Scary moments and confusion about being enrolled without choosing anything – we received LifeWise.


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You’re Invited!

Summer Celebration Flyer


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Is Inequality Making Us Sick?

Unnatural Causes - Is Inequality Making Us Sick?

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Faces of Cover Oregon – Michael



Michael runs a small business called Downtown Grounds in beautiful Medford Oregon, and like many small business owners, he cannot afford private insurance.

Then last fall Michael got sick, and it lasted for weeks. He finally became concerned enough to risk the expense of going to the doctor, but after trying a few health clinics, he was told that he could not be seen unless he was an established patient. Without any other options, Michael was finally forced to check himself into the local Hospital Emergency Room.

Doctors confirmed that he had pnemonia, and perscribed an antibiotic. But a diagnosis and prescription weren’t the only things he left with from the Emergency Room. He’d also accrued a large sum of Medical Debt.

Today, Michael is feeling better than ever, especially due to the fact that he’s recently been approved for the Oregon Health Plan. “Now I’m a lot more comfortable,” he says. “If I get sick I won’t be stuck at home worried about what I have,” and, most importantly, he won’t have to be worried about losing money. While he does plan to receive coverage from a private insurance agency once his business takes off, he is happy to be assured that if he gets Pneumonia again everything won’t come crashing down. “I got the packet in the mail in January. Now I know what to do instead of waiting until I get deathly ill.

Applying was pretty easy” said Michael. “The fact that I have healthcare now means I can focus on running a business and not have to stress about my health.”

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Over the course of our nation’s history, immigrants have traditionally moved to some of the U.S.’s largest cities consolidating the perception that immigration is an urban concern. But the truth is in the latter part of the twentieth century, immigrants have been moving to rural towns. And like waves of immigrants before them they are shaping and revitalizing communities they join.Mayor Bechtel 2014

“I’m probably the last guy you’d expect to see pushing for immigration reform. But the fact is, rural towns across America need immigration reform the most. Past generations of immigrants built rural America; new generations are revitalizing it,” said John Bechtel, mayor of Wilder, Idaho – population 1,153.

But in fact, Mayor Bechtel’s not alone in his thinking. Many people from different backgrounds across rural and small town America tell us that we need to move beyond immigration politics and start building and sustaining what’s really at stake: the very heart of our country.

Many small town leaders are speaking up to share a new perspective. Newcomers to their communities are contributing their labor, building new business, paying taxes, sending their children to school and joining churches and civic organizations. Steve Nawocki, Councilman in Pueblo, Colo., says “what better way is there for us to retire in peace than to build a strong workforce of taxpayers, of people contributing to Social Security – by creating a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people already working hard here?”Steve Nawrocki

Immigration policy has become a Main Street concern. Immigrant families are the consumers who are spending their earnings in local stores.

But the issue for others moves beyond rebuilding the economy to building their families.

Peter Tofalvi, co-owner and CEO of Abacus Energy Solutions in Beaverton, OR states that “our country’s out-dated immigration laws caused me to spend a grueling three and half years separated from my wife, herself an immigrant and former Fulbright Fellow who earned her Ph.d here in Oregon.

“Our time spent apart, during the end of her childbearing years, may have robbed us of the dream of having children together,” he said.

Our businesses, our communities, and the very fabric America’s most cherished institution, the family, are succumbing to the perils of our broken immigration system. As a nation, we must envision the country we seek to build – then create it.

We must grow our future together, a future that is welcoming, caring, and encourages the best in all of us.

Re-posted from the Alliance for a Just Society blog, hosted here.

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The One Letter You Need to Read Today…

Dear _______,

I am reaching out to you on behalf of Oregon Action regarding our attempt to pass fair chance employment legislation in Portland, Oregon, known as “Ban the Box”. Three out of every ten adults in the United States has a criminal record. We believe that these Americans deserve the chance to obtain gainful, meaningful, and respectable employment once they have fulfilled their obligations to the state in regards to their conviction.

Many criminal convictions and instances of recidivism in modern day America are the result of poverty and addiction, both social ills that we believe have solutions. One of these solutions is the opportunity to support oneself through gainful employment. In instances where employment is obtained post-release from prison, the formerly convicted person is far less likely to repeat criminal behavior and is very likely to become an honest, productive member of society.

This has profoundly positive implications for our community. Once a person is able to take care of themselves through gainful employment, their reliance on social programs such as food stamps or welfare is eliminated, thus removing burdens from you, the taxpayer, as well as freeing up space in our social services sector to provide for the next needy family. Many times, when turning in an application, these people are required to check a box indicating, often times on the front page, that they have been convicted of a crime in their past.

This is very often used as a time-saving measure for employers who simply take the application and throw it in the trash before ever considering the type of conviction, the length of time since the conviction, or the rehabilitation the person has undergone. Through initiatives like “Ban the Box”, we are able to put restrictions on these practices without taking away an employer’s right to screen employees, but instead mandating that the applicant is at least given an interview and a chance to explain the details surrounding their past conviction.

In order to make this form of employment discrimination disappear, we need your help. We are asking for small donations, either on a monthly or one-time basis, to help with our lobbying and community interaction efforts here in Portland. Once this “Ban the Box” becomes a reality in Portland, we then plan to take the fight state-wide, and then further onto D.C to ensure that everyone has a fair shot at a better life once they have proven themselves to be desirous of a place in the community. Your donation can be processed at:


Thank you so very much,

Blaine Stegman, Oregon Action


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Will You Help #CrowdFundJustice?

If you could give $10+ and know that you are making second chances possible in your community, would you?

Please take a moment to read and share this grassroots campaign that will make second chances possible for years to come. Then please consider sharing and donating to make it possible.


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