Policy Associate

ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) of Oregon | Portland, OR

Posted Date 2/12/2021

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon is an advocacy organization dedicated to defending and advancing civil liberties and civil rights through work in the courts, in the legislature, and in communities. We fight for free speech, racial justice, criminal justice reform, religious liberty, reproductive rights, LGBT rights, immigrants' rights, and more. We are organized as a nonpartisan, nonprofit, membership organization with 28,415 members in Oregon. The ACLU of Oregon is an affiliate of the ACLU, our nation's guardian of liberty for 100 years.

In collaboration with state affiliates, ACLU National has launched a racial justice agenda at the national level named “Systemic Equality” which seeks to address America’s legacy of racism and systemic discrimination through administrative and legislative campaigns, advocacy efforts, legal strategies to strike down laws and practices that exclude and harm, and a significant investment and dedicated resources in the South.

In addition to fulfilling our strong mission and high-profile work, we aspire to create and nurture an internal culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging and to dismantle white supremacy and replace it with equitable organizational structures. To this end, we are intentionally seeking to attract team members and leaders who are interested in shaping our future as an anti-racist and equity-focused organization. Our organizational values include:

  • Equity: Shift and share power
  • Inclusion: Partner and empower
  • Integrity: Be clear and aligned
  • Pausing: Rest is a commitment to revolution
  • Persistence: Work life balance
  • Teamwork: Share and have fun together

Policy Program Overview

Our policy team is a constant presence in Salem and local municipalities to pass bills that advance or defend civil liberties and civil rights, and to defeat those that do not. In addition to our 2021 advocacy goals, we are committed to:

  • Making progress towards achieving a decolonized workspace and culture through a shift in language and centering indigenous sovereignty in internal and external work;
  • Prioritizing and holding ourselves accountable to the organization’s values of anti-Black racism, equity, and racial justice education and reflection;
  • Leading with race and centering those most directly impacted by racism and white supremacy in policy decisions, including but not limited to, BIPOC/BIWOC communities, immigrants and refugees, people with varying abilities, LGBTQ communities, and people experiencing poverty or other socio-economic injustices.

The following areas are the priority policy areas for ACLU of Oregon’s Policy Program:

  1. Housing & Homelessness
  2. Strengthening Democracy
  3. Health & Wellness
  4. Education Equity & Justice
  5. Consumer Privacy & Cybersecurity
  6. Criminal & Restorative Justice
  7. Public & Community Safety
  8. Economic Justice

Position Overview

The Policy Associate is a proven advocate and policy expert who will work both to advance an affirmative, non-partisan civil rights and civil liberties agenda and to defend against policies and budgets that impact vulnerable Oregonians. The Policy Associate must also actively participate in work to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and extend a DEI lens from internal operations to the ACLU's external work. Working under the supervision of the Policy Director, the Policy Associate will collaborate with ACLU of Oregon and national staff, coalition partners, BIPOC organizations and organizers, and others directly impacted to develop and move forward a strategic and innovative policy and integrated advocacy agenda. The Policy Associate will engage in state and municipal level advocacy, engage the Oregon congressional delegation, and participate in ballot measure campaigns. The Policy Associate develops and moves forward an agenda at multiple levels of government: the state legislature, legislative and executive branches, administrative agencies, and local governments. The Policy Associate also participates in the development of an annual departmental budget. This individual must demonstrate a strong commitment to and demonstrated experience with fostering racial equity and gender justice in all of its forms in the policy department's internal and external work. This position is located in Portland but requires full-time presence in Salem during the legislative session (Feb-July in odd-numbered years; Feb-Mar in even-numbered years).

Key Job Responsibilities

Please note that responsibilities listed below are not comprehensive but generally demonstrate the types of matters under this position’s purview and responsibility.

  • Collaborate with the Policy Director and staff on implementing integrated advocacy policy initiatives involving a combination of advocacy, legal, communications, capacity building, and grassroots organizing strategies.
  • Engage in anti-Black racism and DEI training and educational opportunities individually and in collaboration with staff.
  • Analyze legislation; maintain bill tracking database and hearing schedule.
  • Assist in drafting legislation, amendments, preparing and delivering written and verbal testimony, and support of allies in their development and delivery of testimony.
  • Conduct issue-related research and analysis and draft supporting material including facts sheets, issue papers, talking points, reports, op-eds, and blogs.
  • Build trusted relationships with state and local lawmakers and staff, administrative agencies, the Governor’s office, lobbyists, and other stakeholders by providing clear  analysis and resources; identify opportunities for bipartisan support on ACLU issues.
  • Represent the organization at coalition meetings, policy work groups, and events.
  • Participate in legislative interim activity and monitor implementation of existing laws.
  • Attend national and regional ACLU training and staff conferences (*virtually in the short term and in person if/when safe).
  • Provide technical assistance, trainings, and education in responsibility areas as requested by the Policy Director or the Policy Director’s designee.
  • Handle additional projects related to responsibility areas as assigned by the Policy Director or the Policy Director’s designee.

Experience, Knowledge, Skills, And Abilities - Generally Required

We believe in personal and professional growth and transformation. These qualifications reflect the primary skills needed for this position, but it is not required that you have all of them right now. If you like to learn and grow and have most of these, please apply.

  • Proven commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Demonstrated experience centering racial/ethnic and gender justice values into internal and external organizational work.
  • Substantial experience in policy and budget-related advocacy including direct lobbying.
  • Experience conducting and supervising complex policy research and analysis.
  • Exceptional analytical, research, writing, and oral advocacy skills, as well as the ability to articulate complex issues and communicate them clearly, respectfully, and effectively to  a variety of audiences.
  • Experience in public policy development, political campaigns, organizing, or government affairs work.
  • Excellent problem-solving skills, ability to juggle multiple on-going projects, and exercise good judgment under stressful situations.
  • Experience working effectively with diverse populations and a personal approach that values differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, disability and ability, and socio-economic circumstance.
  • Ability to be proactive, understand the political landscape, and be able to work effectively on issues that require bipartisan support.
  • Ability to work independently and keep organized in a fast-paced and often stressful environment, to manage several projects simultaneously, and to adjust strategy to  frequently changing demands and circumstances.
  • Knowledge of constitutional law and civil rights law, criminal procedure, and ethical obligations.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively and professionally with staff colleagues, BIPOC and impacted communities, coalition partners, elected officials, and other decision makers with a commitment to the highest ethical standards.
  • Excellent organization and time management skills to manage and oversee work with ability to ensure timely completion of assignments and projects.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including public speaking skills.
  • Availability to work from the state capitol in Salem during legislative sessions, to travel elsewhere, and to work extended hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays, as necessary.
  • Post secondary education or demonstrated 3-6 years of comparable work experience.
  • Demonstrated commitment to the ACLU of Oregon's mission, and the ability to stay abreast of current affiliate priorities, including a wide range of civil liberties and civil rights issues.
  • Fluency in Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat.

Skills, Knowledge, And Abilities - Preferred

  • Experience working with BIPOC or impacted communities, grassroots or grasstops organizations, and non-governmental organizations.
  • Prior experience as an advocate, community organizer, or policymaker who has lived, worked, and/or significantly engaged with BIPOC or impacted communities.
  • Ability to mobilize racially and ethnically diverse coalition partners.
  • Bilingual or multilingual.
  • Fluency with Every Action, Asana, Google Docs, Microsoft Office, Slack, BillTracker, and similar lobbying and project management software.
  • Knowledge of the Oregon Constitution.
  • Previous volunteer experience.

Work Contacts And Supervisory Responsibilities

The Policy Associate works closely with the Policy Director and the Development, Communications, and Legal Teams. The Policy Associate will also work with contract lobbyists, clients, impacted community members, coalition partners, ACLU members, and elected officials to advance the affiliate's policy goals. The ACLU of Oregon values centering and following the leadership of BIPOC and other communities most directly impacted by racial, social, and economic injustices.

The Policy Associate does not have supervisory responsibilities. 

Position Type And Expected Hours of Work

Full-time, exempt position with Monday to Friday work schedule based in Portland. During Oregon legislative sessions, the Policy Associate is expected to work in the state capitol in Salem most days. Flexibility to work non-traditional office hours, including nights, weekends, and a willingness to travel within Oregon are required. The Oregon legislative session is currently being conducted virtually due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

Work Environment

The primary downtown office environment has ambient room temperatures, lighting, and traditional office equipment as found in a typical office environment. Work in the Oregon State Capitol building requires movement throughout the Capitol and a shared workspace. Sometimes, there may be work in outside spaces subject to outside weather conditions such as when meetings or events are held outside. We are currently working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Physical Requirements

  • Frequently: sit, perform desk-based computer tasks; use fine manipulation and grasp; use a telephone; write by hand; sort and file paperwork.
  • Moderately to frequently: move between spaces/offices.
  • Frequently: ability to communicate and interact by phone, email, virtually, and in-person with a wide range of individuals and organizations.
  • Frequently: ability to attend meetings, events, and activities virtually and in-person, at and outside the main offices of the ACLU of Oregon, including at the State Capitol and other parts of the state of Oregon as needed.
  • As needed: ability to travel by car or plane within Oregon (more frequent) and to other parts of the United States (less frequent).

Notice About Reasonable Accommodations

The physical requirements described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this position. If an employee requires reasonable accommodation(s) to do the essential functions of their position, the ACLU of Oregon will engage in the disability interactive process with the employee to determine and provide reasonable accommodation(s). If an applicant requires a reasonable accommodation related to application processes, the applicant should contact the ACLU of Oregon for assistance.

Compensation and Benefits

This is a salaried, exempt, full-time position. The salary range for the Policy Associate position is $65,000 to $70,000 depending on experience; for applicants with significant exceptional prior experience, a salary outside this range may be considered. Benefits include paid vacation time, paid sick time, nine paid holidays per year, health insurance (medical, dental, and vision), life insurance, long-term disability insurance, and a 401(k) retirement plan with matching and other contributions of up to 5.5% of salary, subject to the organization’s 401(k)’s plan requirements which include a vesting schedule. Please note that all benefits provided to ACLU of Oregon’s employees are subject to all applicable policies, practices, processes, and legal requirements.

To Apply

To apply, please submit a cover letter and resume at www.aclu-or.org/en/about/careers.


Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis starting February 10, 2021, and will be reviewed beginning the week of February 15, 2021. Applications received after February 26, 2021, may not be reviewed.

The ACLU of Oregon is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values for us, and we encourage applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, ethnicity, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family relationship to a current or prior employee, citizenship, disability, veteran or uniformed service status, and record of arrest or conviction. We also encourage qualified people with justice system involvement to apply.

Offers of employment by the ACLU of Oregon are in writing and signed by the Executive Director. Any offers of employment that do not meet these requirements are not final and are contingent on final approval by the Executive Director and receipt of a written offer of employment that meets the previously-stated requirements.

Listing Type
Position Type
Full Time
Experience Level
Mid Level
Employer Type
Direct Employer
$65,000 -$70,000
Salary Type

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