The Oregonians for a State Bank group is holding a forum Tuesday, Feb. 1 on a proposal circulating in the state Legislature to establish a publicly owned bank in Oregon.

The state bank proposal—which opponents have said is barred by the state Constitution and deals with a subject the state lacks expertise in—aims to benefit Oregon's small businesses, family farmers and local communities by funding local projects with local money.

"It'll tilt away from larger banks who haven't done anything to help small business owners [in Oregon],"says Dan Lombardi, of the Main Street Alliance of Oregon, one of the sponsors of the forum at the New Song Community Church (2511 NE Martin Luther King Blvd.).

Lombardi cites an example of a publicly owned state bank in North Dakota that's proven successful for the past 90 years.

Speakers at the forum include state Rep. Jefferson Smith (D-Portland), Main Street Alliance of Oregon co-chair Jim Houser, who recently sat in the First Lady's Box during President Obama's State of the Union address and members from the Oregon Working Families Party and Friends of Family Farmers.

The event is from 6 pm to 8 pm and will be hosted by the Main Street Alliance of Oregon, Oregon Action and the Oregon Working Families Party.