The City Club of Portland's Friday Forum this week addresses a controversial topic that has long divided Oregon.
Here's how City Club described the event, which takes place at the Sentinel Hotel at noon: "In 1994, Oregon voters approved Measure 11, which established mandatory minimum prison sentences for serious crimes. This forum will bring together different perspectives to examine the measure's impacts over the last 20 years and efforts to reform the policy."
"It's entirely one thing to have legitimate disagreements about sentencing policy, but it's another for an organization that claims to be interested in public discourse to deliberately avoid involving people that are making that policy," Marquis says.
He points to the four people included in the panel.
Lucy Flores, a former state assemblywomen from Nevada; Shannon Wight, deputy director of Partnership for Safety and Justice; David Rogers, executive director of the ACLU of Oregon; and Bobbin Singh, executive director of Oregon Justice Resource Center are all opponents of Measure 11.
A lobbyist for the Oregon District Attorneys Association, Kevin Neely, contacted City Club seeking to have a representative included on the panel but he was unsuccessful, Marquis says.
Chris Trejbal, a City Club spokesman, says there was never any intention to exclude supporters of Measure 11. Trejbal says that the description of the event was poorly written. He says the goal of the Dec. 2 panel was always to examine the effect of Measure 11 on communities of color, who are disproportionately represented in Oregon prisons.
"In the future, we will bring in the district attorneys and victims rights representatives," Trejbal says. "But the goal of the first panel is to look at impacts, and then later have a broader discussion of the measure."
Marquis found that explanation unsatisfying.
"I only know what I read on the City Club's website about the event's purpose," he says. "Different views of Measure 11? Not really."