SEATAC, Wash., and TIGARD, Ore. (11/25/15)--Although the Oregon Legislature is not officially in session, lawmakers took time Nov. 17 to share a meal with representatives from state cooperatives.
The annual luncheon, sponsored by the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA), the Agricultural Cooperative Council of Oregon, the Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and the Oregon Telecommunications Association, is an event so noteworthy that Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued a proclamation lauding cooperatives (Anthem Nov. 23).
Pam Leavitt, NWCUA Oregon state advocacy and grassroots policy adviser, told attendees that state credit union membership is now 1.8 million strong. Legislators did some evangelizing of their own: Rep. Margaret Doherty (D-Tigard) told her story of joining the former Portland (Ore.) Teachers CU--now OnPoint Community CU--because it was the only institution at the time that would approve her loan. Doherty has remained a loyal member for nearly four decades, she said.
Legislators were in good company at the lunch. Maps CU, Salem; NW Priority CU, Portland; Oregon Community CU, Eugene; and Oregon State CU, Corvallis sent representatives to tell the cooperative story.
“The Oregon Co-op Lunch is a special event,” said Jennifer Wagner, NWCUA senior vice president of advocacy. “It provides our legislators an important perspective about credit unions as cooperatives that stays with them when, weeks or months later, we arrive in their office with a legislative issue to discuss.”