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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Sheriff’s sergeant calls LGBTQ people “abomination”

UCCMedfordLRPLogoHRSOPrideThis is a public response from the Medford Congregational United Church of Christ Church, Lotus Rising Project, Southern Oregon Pride, and Oregon Action.

A Jackson County patrol sergeant said in the Mail Tribune (Nov. 3, 2014) that the gay and lesbian members of our community are “an abomination.”

This follows his public statement a year earlier that personal beliefs, rather than the law and the constitution, would be his governing guide.

Please read the letters that are shown below. And then please do two things…

  1. Sign the online petition to Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters and County Commissioners Doug Breidenthal, John Rachor, and Don Skundrick (all of whom will be in office until January). The online petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/public-safety-and-equal-justice, also can be found via SOPride’s Facebook page.
  1. Forward this appeal to your own email lists and through Facebook and other social media.

As you can see, the petition calls on the sheriff’s department and the county to repudiate those statements and to publicly affirm that the county will value and respect everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age, or any other factor.

Without clear public statements from Sheriff Winters and the county commissioners, we are left with the impression that gay and lesbian people who are stopped by sheriffs’ department employees or seek their help cannot assume that their safety and legal rights will be protected.

Thank you for your prompt action.

Letter to the editor published in Medford Mail Tribune, Monday, November 3, 2014

Bible is the guide

This is in response to Noni McCrillis’ (Sept. 25) letter. First, I’d wonder if the writer picks and chooses which parts of the Bible she wants to accept. Second, I’m not, nor are other Christians, trying to run anyone’s life; the Bible should be your guide for a correctly run life.

What I read in the Bible says a man and another man should not even be in the relationship described, calling it an abomination in Leviticus 18:22, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” So forget the issue of whether they should be allowed to be married. Further proof is in Romans 1:27, which states, “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.”

So not only is it called an abomination, but unseemly. Like I wrote earlier, the right to marry or the definition of marriage is secondary, two men shouldn’t even be in this un-Biblical relationship.

Dace Cochran, Medford

Letter to the editor published in Medford Mail Tribune, November 3, 2013

Bible’s stance is obvious

This is regarding the letter from the Rev. Caren Caldwell in the Oct. 5 edition. As a minister, I would assume that the writer is familiar with the Bible and the obvious stance it takes on homosexuality.

Twice in Leviticus it is said, essentially, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.” I don’t know how the good Reverend gets around that, other than to say the ceremonies are joy-filled with excited and delighted attendees.

Well, taken to an extreme, let’s have pet owners marry their dog and cat. I’m sure the event would be a happy one with all the proper pomp and circumstance, but that doesn’t make it right and the state of Oregon wouldn’t recognize it.

The same goes for same-sex marriages. They’re wrong no matter how you spin them, recognizing the Bible as the ultimate authority in the matter. So don’t chastise me as unloving or legalistic, unless you can show me in the Bible where you can back your position up. As for my vote, I look forward to my no vote whenever it unfortunately and inevitably comes to that point.

Dace Cochran, Medford

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Obama’s Immigration Order a Tribute to Grassroots Action


Rally and Sit in for Immigration Reform at Rep. Walden’s Medford Field office. April 2014.

PRESS RELEASE                                                                                  

November 20, 2014


Michelle Glass – 541-292-8201 – michelle@oregonaction.org

Ricardo Lujan – 760-810-2121 – ricardolujan@live.com


Obama’s Immigration Order a Tribute to Grassroots Action

“The president’s action is a great victory for families in Oregon and nationwide who spoke out and shared their stories at great personal risk,” said Oregon Action regional organizer Michelle Glass. “It shows what we can accomplish through united grassroots action.”

“I’m so proud that we made our voices heard,” said Ricardo Lujan, a board member of Rogue Valley Oregon Action. “This is a big step toward justice.”

“While this is an important victory, we still need Congress to permanently fix our immigration system by providing a clear path to citizenship for immigrants who live, work, and pay taxes in this country,” Darlene Huntress, Executive Director of Oregon Action said. “A clear path to citizenship is supported by a large majority of Americans and would pass if Representative Walden and the rest of the Republican leadership would allow it to come to a vote.  Unfortunately, many politicians prefer to use immigrant families as a political ‘wedge issue’ instead of enacting reforms that would benefit all of us.”

Citizenship for immigrants who live and work in the U.S. would help raise pay levels not only for them but for all working people, which in turn would give them greater buying power to support local jobs and businesses.

According to a report, “Equity in the Balance,” released by the Alliance for a Just Society, only 31 percent of non-citizens in Oregon are paid enough for a single adult to make ends meet, and only 12 percent are paid enough for a single adult to support herself and two children.

# # #

Oregon Action is a grassroots organization focused on economic issues affecting working people.

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Disappointed, but not Defeated

Last night’s defeat of Measure 88 is a hard moment for all of us. It is disappointing, it is disheartening, and it hurts.  The reality is that hard-working, taxpaying immigrants will continue to drive to work every day, just as they always have. And sooner or later, our state will reverse Tuesday’s decision and make sure they have driver’s cards and insurance. It is just a matter of time.

Politicians who cynically used this as a wedge issue will eventually find themselves on the wrong side of history, just as they have on the freedom to marry the person you love and a woman’s right to choose regarding her own reproductive decisions. Sometimes it takes several elections before progress wins out and political gamesmanship loses, but the day will come on this issue as it has on many others.

All is not lost.  We took some incredibly important steps over the past year in moving Oregon towards the state we envision, and we must keep moving forward.   Andrea Miller, the Executive Director of our partner CAUSA, perhaps said it best last night:

So while we are disappointed tonight, we are far from discouraged. The need for action is real, and the need continues. Measure 88 proved that there is a new and emerging voice in Oregon politics, a proud voice that can bring diverse groups together in ways never seen before in this state. A voice that understands that Oregon is much stronger together than it is apart. And it is one that is here to stay.”

I am proud of the work that Oregon Action did to support the passage of Measure of 88. We conducted more than 100 canvassing and tabling events in Southern Oregon for the Safe Roads Campaign in a little over four months.  We talked to thousands of voters across the state and were extremely encouraged by the positive conversations we had.  More Oregonians than ever before understand that we all will benefit by making it harder to exploit immigrant workers who are kept in legal limbo.  This is how change happens—one conversation at a time.

Here is what matters: 398,000 Oregonians voted to support the drivers card.  398,000 Oregonians that are with us and never going back.  This is no small number.  We are stronger today than we were a year ago, and we can build on that momentum and continue to change hearts and minds.  Oregon Action is fully committed to joining CAUSA, The Oregon Latino Health Coalition, and our many other incredible partners who will carry on this important work.  We know the journey will be hard sometimes, but that has never stopped us before and it surely won’t stop us now.  Too much is at stake and we simply aren’t going away.

Oregon Action is in this for the long haul.  We are keeping our boots on.  We will march on beside our immigrant brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, friends and neighbors.  Thank you for all you have done and will continue to do to help us.


In solidarity,

Darlene Huntress

Executive Director,

Oregon Action

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Who’s standing up for women & working families?

Rogue Valley Oregon Action, SEIU, and Family Forward launches the Fair Shot campaign in front of the Medford Library

Since joining Fair Shot Oregon, we’ve been hard at work nailing down where the candidates running for office this fall stand on the issues facing women and working families in Oregon.

We sent out Fair Shot Oregon questionnaires. We attended election forums in communities across the state. We scoured voting records.

We’ve uncovered a lot about the candidates running in Senate District 3 and their views.

But we still have some questions that have gone unanswered.

So we’ve invited the candidates to a Fair Shot Town Hall, and we going to ask them once and for all: are you on the side of women and working families?

Can you make it? Here are the details:

Thursday, October 23rd
Southern Oregon University

RCC Presentation Hall
101 S. Bartlett St.

6-7:30 pm

Save your spot—RSVP now.

We’ve invited State Senate candidates Alan Bates and Dave Dotterrer have been invited to clarify their views on Fair Shot issues: living wages, equal pay, retirement security, paid sick time, and affordable women’s health care.

This is our chance to hear where they really stand on the issues—and hold them accountable.

Come and find out for yourself.  

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Changes at Oregon Action

Dear Oregon Action Community,

I am pleased to announce that Michelle Glass has agreed to serve as Oregon Action’s Lead Regional Organizer for Southern Oregon. As Oregon Action Outreach Director, Michelle has worked side by side with Virginia Camberos, who has resigned as regional organizer to move back to her native Southern California.

Michelle has years of experience organizing on economic justice, women’s rights, healthcare, green jobs, and housing, and has a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Southern Oregon University.

Since Michelle became Outreach Director, our Rogue Valley staff and volunteers have been able to…

  • Make more than 8,000 contacts with residents regarding health care issues through our Cover Oregon and Oregon Health Plan outreach and enrollment work.
  • Conduct 85 canvassing and tabling events since July, involving 31 volunteers, for the safe roads campaign to restore driver’s cards for immigrants.
  • Strengthen alliances as part of the leadership of the Southern Oregon chapter of Oregon Strong Voice.
  • Increase our communication through the news media including 22 interviews, OpEds, and coverage of local events in 2014.
  • Make substantial progress in recruiting and retaining younger and more diverse members such as our newest board member Ricardo Lujan, new staff members Alex Budd and Karen Lujan, and volunteers Pedro Rivera, Jorge Pinon, Ana Alvarez, Kathryn Kelley, and Joseph Wood.

I also would like to thank Virginia for her invaluable contributions to Oregon Action. Virginia has strengthened Rogue Valley Oregon Action, making it a more equitable organization because of her vision and leadership.

We all will miss Virginia and wish her the best in the next chapter of her life back home. We are very fortunate to have a team in place that can continue to build our movement and our outreach. I’m very excited by our achievements and look forward to a smooth transition and continued progress.


Darlene Huntress

Executive Director

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Thank You Virginia


“Virginia is one of the most passionate, committed organizers I have ever had the honor of working with.”

Hello Friends,

I wanted to let you all know that our dear friend and Rogue Valley Lead Organizer Virginia Camberos will be leaving Oregon Action at the end of October. While I am so sad to see her go, I am deeply, deeply grateful for the incredible work she has done on behalf of our organization and, most importantly, for the communities we organize and empower in Oregon. She’ll be relocating back to Southern California where she will join a large community of family and friends who I know will support her as she embarks on her new journey.

Virginia is one of the most passionate, committed organizers I have ever had the honor of working with, and her time at Oregon Action has been so important in advancing the social justice issues that our mission compels us to organize on. I have been particularly proud of the work she did as our lead organizer in Rogue Valley over the past year, meeting every new challenge with a smile, with great energy, and with tremendous success. We are a stronger, more equitable organization because of her vision to make it so, and she will be missed by her community in Rogue Valley, and by the social justice community there and in the rest of our great state.

I have every confidence that Michelle and the rest of our Rogue Valley team will carry on the work that Virginia has dedicated her life to, and we will do everything we can to make her proud.

Darlene Huntress,

Executive Director


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Report Card Highlights Need to Improve Women’s Health, Eliminate Racial Disparities

Portland, Oregon—Oregon is ranked #26 in the country and received a final grade of C in the 2014 Women’s Health Report Card released today by Oregon Action and The Main Street Alliance of Oregon.

The report card provides an important measure of the state’s record on women’s health as politicians court women voters ahead of the November elections and continue to debate how to combat persistent racial disparities in health.

“All women deserve access to quality, affordable health care and family planning services,” Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, said after reading an advanced copy of the report. “Cancer screenings, immunizations, and reproductive care can help prevent more serious health problems that, if left untreated, will ultimately lead to higher health care costs. No one should go without seeing a doctor or health care provider because of inability to pay. Although the report shows progress, we still have work to do until all Oregonians and Americans – women, men and children – can access the care they need. Better access will lead to a healthier population, which will strengthen our communities and our economy.”

The 2014 Women’s Health Report Card for Oregon is available here: http://bit.ly/HealthReportCard

“This report card shows Oregon has an average record on women’s health. Though this is better than a failing grade, it’s not nearly good enough for women and the families that depend on them, and especially for women of color,” said Darlene Huntress, Executive Director of Oregon Action.  “These grades should serve as an urgent call to action for Oregon leaders.  It’s time to get past political gridlock and take concerted action to improve women’s health.  Legislators must take steps that invest in community-based outreach and health coverage enrollment strategies targeted toward low-income women and communities of color.”

Oregon’s final rank and grade focus on three areas: health coverage for women, women’s access to health care, and women’s health outcomes. On coverage, Oregon ranked 24th in the country, a grade of C. On access to health care, Oregon ranked 30th, a grade of C-. And on health outcomes, Oregon ranked 25th, a grade of C.

“Oregon has an opportunity to improve its overall record on women’s health, catch up with other states that are performing better, and be a leader on eliminating race-based disparities,” said Stephen Michael, State Director of The Main Street Alliance of Oregon. “But if state lawmakers drag their feet, we’re only going to fall further behind other states. Women who are denied health care, and the families who depend on them, will pay the price.”

Looking at women’s health by race, the report card finds Oregon is doing an even worse job meeting the needs of women of color, who are uninsured at higher rates and also face worse health outcomes than women overall, adding urgency to the debate over eliminating racial disparities.

“Politicians must put aside partisan bickering, advocate for women, and take action to improve women’s health by moving forward with a proactive health equity agenda,” said LeeAnn Hall, executive director of the Alliance for a Just Society, which produced the report card. “Our families, our communities, and our economy depend on women – women must be able to depend on Oregon to deliver on the promise of quality, affordable health care.”

The 2014 Women’s Health Report Card uses the latest available data from government sources to rank Oregon among the 50 states on 30 measures (and more than 50 individual data points) relating to women’s health issues. It generates state rankings and grades, analyzes race-based disparities, and includes specific recommendations for state action to improve women’s health.


For more information, please contact:


Darlene Huntress

Executive Director, Oregon Action

(503) 983-3258


Stephen Michael

State Director, Main Street Alliance of Oregon

(503) 610-6726


Kathy Mulady

Communications Director, Alliance for a Just Society

(206) 568-5400

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Oregon Health Plan Renewals

Renew your Oregon Health Plan benefits

If you are on the Oregon Health Plan, you may receive a notice that you need to renew coverage. The process for renewals has changed, and we are here to help!

Do you have questions about renewing your Oregon Health Plan coverage? Here’s a handy Frequently Asked Questions list about renewals. Wondering how to renew? Read on!

If you receive mail from Cover Oregon or the Oregon Health Plan, you should always open it immediately! It could be time sensitive and not taking action quickly could cause you to lose coverage. If you receive a letter, here’s what you should do:

  1. Fill out the requested information for the household.
  2. Sign the form or application
  3. Send the form or application back in the envelope provided by the date specified in the letter.

You can also renew by phone! Call Oregon Health Plan Customer Service to update your information: 1-800-699-9075 or 711 (TTY) to renew over the phone if you receive a letter.

It can be a long wait on hold, so I recommend calling in, putting your phone on speaker and then doing something productive while you wait. Read a book, work on a project, fix dinner, do your dishes. When you do get through it is usually a very quick process. Just tell the OHP customer service representative on the phone that you need to renew your OHP application and then provide any updates to your information such as: changes in family size, change of address or phone number, changes in income.

We can help you fill out the paperwork or check on an application you have already submitted

Call our Medford office with questions about the application or to schedule an appointment to do the application with a qualified Cover Oregon Assister in English or Spanish. 541-772-4029.

If you would like us to help you fill out the renewal form or the application, or help check on the status of an application you have already submitted, we will need you to fill out this form to authorize us to help you.  The form can be emailed to Michelle@OregonAction.org or mailed to our office at 33 N. Central Avenue, Suite #303 Medford Oregon 97501.

If you have general questions about the Oregon Health Plan, visit their website at www.OHP.oregon.gov

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