The Corvallis chapter of 350.org had a huge win last month as the Corvallis City Council passed multiple policies in favor of divestment.
The Corvallis, Oregon divest campaign, which started in fall of 2014, came to a successful conclusion with the Corvallis City Council voting to divest on June 15th, 2015! Excited supporters in the audience clapped as the council unanimously voted to pass the resolution and were gently reminded by Mayor Traber that clapping during council meetings is not expected behavior.
The divestment group started meeting last fall as word got out that Corvallis had fossil fuel companies on its list of possible investments. Like many smaller towns its direct investments are minimal, but the group felt this was an important step to take and helps to set an example for other entities yet to divest such as the Oregon State University Foundation as well as our state level government. Similar resolutions have been passed in Eugene and Ashland, and Corvallis will be joining these cities by formally asking Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler in divesting larger state funds, such as the Local Governement Investment Pool (LGIP) and the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS).
The first draft of the resolution was originally introduced to the city council back in February where it was referred to the ASC (Administrative Services Committee). The resolution was examined and similar resolutions were researched by the ASC committee with help from city staff. The divestment group continued to work with city staff and councilors providing information and resources and answering questions. The months of April and May were also a time for setting the cities budget, so that slowed things down a bit, but the divestment resolution was soon back on the table. In the meantime the group continued to work on getting community members to sign the divestment petition and call and write their city councilor in support of the resolution.
At the June 3rd ASC meeting, the committee voted to recommend the resolution to the council at the June 15th council meeting. Supporters testified in favor of the resolution during visitors propositions. Both a fossil free divestment city policy and the resolution were passed by a unanimous vote, with all councilors present except for Councilor Bull.
-Kris Paul, 350Corvallis