Let’s get to work

2017 was a big year for all of us, full of twists and turns, bumps along the road, green lights and scenic views. The Bus drove democracy a few more miles forward, and with the winding road behind us, we are looking forward to the next year. There is a lot of work to do, and we need everyone to put on their driving gloves and take a turn at the steering wheel, it’s time to roll up those sleeves and get to work.

(Okay, no more puns, we promise)…

For the Bus, 2018 will be an exciting year filled with new ways to engage in the fight for a better democracy. We’re focusing our efforts on continuing to drive democracy forward to ensure all Oregonians have access to the ballot without barriers, and that our communities are centered during elections.

I think we can all agree that our democracy has been knocked out of balance by the influx of big money in elections. We need a system in which everyone participates, every vote is counted, and everyone’s voice is heard. The Small Donor Elections program lets candidates win with the support of everyday Oregonians, not large campaign contributors. When we empower more people to have a say in our elections and allow candidates to run free of big money, politicians will have a chance to listen to ordinary people—working families and young people and students, people historically passed over when our candidates have to raise big money to be competitive. Under this program, candidates can run a competitive campaign while spending more time talking with more ordinary Oregonians, and can better understand and represent us in office. Take the pledge to support Small Donor Elections program now!

Oregon has taken great strides in modernizing our elections system. Starting with Vote by Mail in the late 90s, and continuing with Online Registration and Automatic Voter Registration in the past decade, our state has been a leader in making voting more efficient and streamlined. The next logical step as we continue to innovate and improve our elections systems is to pay for return postage for ballots. A ballot that’s mailed has to be return-addressed, stamped, and dropped in the mail at least five to six days before the election to make it to the county elections office before 8pm on Election Day. Providing a postage-paid return envelope streamlines the process and makes voting more efficient and straightforward. That’s why The Bus Project supports providing pre-paid postage on Oregon Ballots, and you should too!

Moving forward is great, but only if we are continuing to protect the progress we have already made. The Bus Project remains dedicated to protecting access to democracy through Automatic Voter Registration, and working with the Secretary of State to ensure rules enacted for elections aim to protect our communities.

In addition to our two big legislative priorities we are also working in coalition to support Clean Energy Jobs. Oregon is on the cusp of passing a bold law to cap and price climate pollution — the Clean Energy Jobs bill. Proceeds, collected from the state’s largest polluters, will pay to put Oregonians to work in your community by making clean power like solar available to more people, upgrading homes and businesses to use less energy and save people money, building affordable housing near transit and investing in more transportation options. The Bus Project is dedicated to advocating for the environment, because as young people we want to make sure the air is clean to breath for our generation, and the generations that come next!

Thanks for being on Team Bus! We are looking forward to a great year of driving democracy forward.

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Changing the Rules of the Game

It’s easy to read the news and feel as if wealthy donors can write big checks, and politicians will listen. Meanwhile, regular folks like you and me are left paying the price when those policies don’t address the real problems we face every day.

But does it have to be like this? We don’t think so.

We can tip the balance in Oregon, and make it so our elected officials are less dependent on donors with deep pockets, and spend more time talking to their community.

By creating a Small Donor Elections program, we can change the rules of the game.

We can remove barriers and make sure candidates that share our values are able to run for office, not just well-connected folks that are out of touch with our communities. We can empower our neighbors to have a voice, and to influence real decisions in Salem.

Click here to learn more and sign up for updates!

When money is no longer a barrier to running for office, we can elect more regular people from all walks of life. And when we change who’s at the decision-making table, we can create better outcomes for our state.

It’s that simple – click here to learn more.



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2017, by the numbers

Can you believe 2017 is almost over? I know I can’t. It’s been a big year for the Bus Project, and I wanted to share some of my favorite highlights before the year ends. Here’s our year, by the numbers:

You’ve done so much to help us reach our goals this year. Thank you for being on the Bus, and helping keep us rolling all year long.

Happy New Year!

Team Bus

P.S. To make a year-end contribution to help fuel us in 2018, too, click here.

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We’re in the Give!Guide!

This year The Bus Project is participating in Willamette Week’s Give!Guide! It’s a fun and easy way to give back to organizations you care about, while getting some cool incentives back. To make things a little more interesting, our board member, Dan Torres, has agreed to get a Vote Bot Tattoo if we can raise $10,000 from November 1st through December 31st. Help us make that dream a reality, by donating to Give!Guide today!

If you give at least $10, you get access to the Chinook Book app. If you give $1,000 you will get a hand-delivered bag of gifts! And when you make a gift on a Big Give Day, you will be entered into a raffle for even more cool prizes, like a dream Salt and Straw and ping pong party with you and 59 of your closest friends at Pips and Bounce.

You get cool prizes, and you help keep The Bus rolling, what could be better? Make sure to check out The Bus Project page, throw a few dollarz our way, and don’t miss out on this amazing win-WIN situation.

XOXO Team Bus

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Transitions at The Bus Project


I’m writing today with some bittersweet news. Our incredible Executive Director, Nikki Fisher, is leaving her position with the Bus to take on a new challenge. The board is excited to support Nikki’s transition and to begin our search for the Bus Project’s next fearless leader.

Since Nikki joined the staff in 2015, the Bus has done some pretty great things. We helped implement automatic voter registration and saw over 400,000 Oregonians get added to the voter rolls – including nearly 100,000 people who voted for the first time in 2016. We literally revolutionized the way voter registration is done in this country. We graduated 37 PolitiCorps fellows and found job placements for a ton of them. We were even on the front cover of the Nation magazine! We passed some other important voting reforms, too: voter pre-registration for 16-year-olds and a bill that added more drop boxes to college campuses.

More than anything, we are grateful for the leaders Nikki has helped build. At the Bus Project, we take young leaders, provide opportunities for growth and success, and encourage them long-term to help build progressive structures to win, to build, and succeed. We are proud of the work Nikki has done and we are proud to have her in the Bus family.

During the transition, Courtney Graham, who has worked with the Bus for the last year as our lobbyist and fearless leader in Salem, will be our Interim Director. We also have awesome staff: Amy, our Leadership Director, has been around for three cycles of fellows and has been a huge asset to our team. Gnora, our Policy and Advocacy Director, has been with the Bus since September and is already rocking it. Jack is our super savvy and trusted accountant, and has been a longtime member of the Bus family. And we have our brilliant fellow Joseph with us from Mozambique until December.

Myself and the board are ready to support this transition, and we have already started planning for an extensive and inclusive search for a new Executive Director (stay tuned for a job description).

​The Bus Project, with Courtney’s interim leadership, will continue to drive our policy priorities, legislative agenda, and vision and strategy forward.​ We are so excited for the future of the organization. We wouldn’t be here without Nikki’s hard work and leadership, and we hope you will join us in thanking her for her years of service. ​

Your c(3) board chair,


Sam Chapman

P.S.We hope to see you at Jingle Bus this year! We are going to celebrate Nikki’s years of work and are excited to wrap up the year with a bunch of our amazing friends and generous donors.


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Now Accepting Applications for Fall Interns!

Apply today to intern with the Bus Project!

ABOUT US: The Oregon Bus Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to build a more accessible democracy that more accurately reflects and engages the millennial generation. Our goal is to bring young people into the political process through civic engagement, leadership development, and issue advocacy. The Bus Project has registered, educated, and turned out tens of thousands of young voters. The Bus Project has also passed forward-thinking policies that make elections more accessible and make tangible change on issues that impact young people. We’re working to change our state for the better, and we need you to make that happen.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM: Our fall program is focused on training young people to be effective and inclusive community leaders and organizers through weekly classroom sessions and on-the-ground fieldwork. Interns lead and participate in weekly classroom sessions designed to give them skills and tools necessary to make positive change in their community. We pair the classroom trainings with serious fieldwork so that interns can make a tangible impact on their community by utilizing the skills they learn in the classroom.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Gain valuable leadership skills through a mix of classroom sessions and hands-on fieldwork. Participate in local and state-level grassroots campaigns. Build a strong community of friends and allies that you will work with in the future. Explore your strengths and weaknesses as a leader. Grow personally and intentionally through intentional feedback from your supervisor and fellow interns, classroom trainings, and self-reflection.

Inters are required to be with the Bus Project 8 hours a week. 2 of these hours will be spent in classroom trainings from Bus Project staff as well as experts in the community. The other 6 hours will be spent working in the field on voter registration, collecting pledge-to-vote cards, and research.

TO APPLY: access the application by clicking here! The program starts the week of October 16th, so hurry on over! PS, we’re looking for enthusiastic, passionate people– no experience necessary! Get in touch with Amy@busproject.org with questions.

We welcome applications from all and strongly encourage women, people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants, refugees, and members of the LGBTQ community to apply.

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National Voter Registration Day!

Did you know that last year millions of Americans didn’t vote because they missed a registration deadline, or didn’t know how to register? Many Oregonians are not aware that you can register when you’re 17, and need to update your registration when you move, or change your name.

Democracy is built from the ground up and key decisions that affect our communities, our kids, taxes and the investments they support are determined locally, so #BeVocalVoteLocal. In this political climate it’s important to use your voice, and vote!

The Bus Project will be celebrating National Voter Registration Day today and we’re so stoked.

Check if you are up to date with your current voter registration, or register for the first time at beregistered.org

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A message from your Senators.

Senator Ron Wyden provides a great message to everyone at the Bus Project who has volunteered and registered folks. 

Senator Merkley provides a powerful message about the importance of voting. 

We are proud to celebrate National Voter Registration Day and have the support of our two US Senators.

Today is a special day for us at the Bus. It’s a national holiday. A day were we get to remind folks about the importance of voting. It’s a day were Republicans, Democrats, Working Family Party, Independent Party of Oregon can all come together and agree: It’s time to register folks!

Take a moment and ask your friends and family members if they’re registered and use the easy link at beregistered.org to check your status.

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Join us!

2017 has already been a landmark year for criminal justice reform in our state! Thousands of you reached out to elected officials and helped pass laws to end law enforcement profiling, reduce unreasonably harsh penalties for simple drug possession, slow the expansion of our prison population, and make our grand jury system more transparent and accountable. We thank each of you for getting involved.

It is a new day and a new political landscape! We’re building momentum and are far from done. Today, we are excited to announce that we are partnering with the ACLU of Oregon for their launch of the They Report to You Campaign, a cutting-edge campaign to make our criminal justice system more accountable to everyday people. Our PolitiCorps fellows have already knocked over 14,000 doors for this campaign over the summer and we’re excited to share this with you! Join us on Sunday, August 27th in Beaverton to help kick off the campaign!

There is more to accountability than building and filling prisons. Accountability includes reflecting our values through increasing access to education, mental health treatment, re-entry support, and ensuring equal treatment. It means not only holding people convicted of crimes accountable, but also holding district attorneys and law enforcement accountable. It means holding ourselves accountable too, so that we educate ourselves about candidates running for positions like district attorney and vote for the one who best reflects our values.

Join the ACLU for lunch and learn how you can get involved with They Report to You. Afterwards, we will hit the streets on our first volunteer canvass for district attorney accountability. Sign up today!

The basics
What: They Report to You Campaign launch for the ACLU
When: Sunday, August 27th
Where: Beaverton Public Library Green (12375 SW 5th St, Beaverton, OR 97005)
Time: 12-3pm
Lunch and a training are both provided before hitting the doors!
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Meet the fellows!

Meet the 2017 PolitiCorps Fellows!

Hey Friend,

For the past 13 years, the Bus Project has brought in young folks from all around the nation to participate in our annual summer fellowship, PolitiCorps. PolitiCorps is an intensive 10-week program where fellows learn the ins-and-outs of political organizing. Some of the sharpest minds in Oregon donate their time to teach fellows skills in fundraising, campaign planning, campaign management, nonprofit management, working in both the National and State Capitol, and tons more.

Fellows also do some of democracy’s hardest and most important work–which is having thousands upon thousands of meaningful one-on-one conversations with voters. These fellows are talented, determined, and passionate. We appreciate the heck outta ’em and we are honored to introduce them to you. So, without further ado, meet the 2017 PolitiCorps Cohort!


Abby Boulton was born and raised in Portland and is super excited to be back for the summer. Arising senior at the University of Vermont, she is a double major in Art History and Sociology. After working for Planned Parenthood, Abby gained a much deeper appreciation of advocacy and is looking forward to continuing her involvement through PolitiCorps. She is deeply passionate about issues of representation, education, and equality. You could probably find her reading the news, practicing yoga, or out and about around Portland.

Adilene Valencia is a student at Portland State University working towards a BS in Community Development. She grew up across the river in Vancouver, WA but her heart has always loved Portland. She moved to neighboring Gresham and has fallen even more in love with the city and its people. In high school she spent her time in student government, then at MHCC she was the director of community affairs where she got her first taste of organizing and absolutely loved it! She has two adorable poodle pups at home, and spends most of her free time out in the parks, Cafe Delirium, or grabbing a bite to eat with friends.
 Collin Haahr was born in Portland and was raised by two proud “St. Johns” residents in the Northwest section of the city. He is a recent graduate of the University of Portland, and after spending countless hours studying and working, with a few dedicated to fun, he is ready to finally cause the action he wishes to see in politics. His main passions are Environmental Policy, Public Schooling, and Civil Rights, subjects he has vocally and publicly supported his entire life. When he’s not reading political commentary on The Atlantic or Politico, he’s most likely watching sports, always proudly routing for his Northwest Teams, as well as sometimes across the pond proudly supporting Everton FC.
Helen Eldred was born and raised in Corvallis, Oregon and is currently a rising sophomore at Mount Holyoke College where she is a Politics major with an intended minor in Journalism. In 2014, she interned for Sara Gelser’s successful campaign for Oregon State Senate. She is interested in transferring her academic pursuits into practical solutions to real world problems. In her spare time she loves to read, listen to music, go on hikes, have dinner parties, and there is nothing that gets her going more than a good panel discussion.
Huell White is a Portland State University graduate originally from Southern New Mexico. He moved to Portland in 2012 to study Russian at PSU. Huell has lived, studied and interned in Europe, Russia and Central Asia, which subsequently shaped his worldview. A lifelong obsession with politics has led him to hop on the Bus, and hopes that PolitiCorps will lead him to fulfill his dream of working in public service.
Janiel Santos is originally from Nevada and moved to Oregon as a child where she grew up in Tualatin. Acurrent student at the University of Oregon, Janiel is pursuing a degree in Family-Human Services, with aminor in Ethnic Studies. Janiel is passionate about women and reproductive rights, racial justice and empowering Latinx youth. Janiel’s dream is to pursue a graduate degree in Administration and Policy, and hopefully work with Latinx youth in the future.
Kaia Johnson Born and raised in Northwest Washington, Kaia grew up barefoot wandering through the San Juan Islands, finding her voice not only in social work, but as a writer and artist. Kaia is almost a Washington State University alumni, finishing up her last semester this fall, getting her undergraduate degree in Journalism after completing her minor in Comparative Ethnic Studies. Passionate on just about every topic, she is quick to add not only her views and thoughts, but probably at least one joke per conversation. She’s incredibly excited for what this summer can achieve.
Kathy Bond is a current Economics and Political Science major at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Kathy first became interested in politics after working on a campaign for a district representative in Las Vegas, Nevada. To Kathy, politics is about creating positive change within your community, and Kathy continues to be passionate for community engagement by volunteering for the Oregon Food Bank and after-school programs in middle schools across Portland. Kathy loves to make bad puns, play card games, and pet cute dogs.
Nathaniel Torry-Schrag, a native Oregonian who grew up in small towns west of Portland, is currently enrolled in the Portland State University Urban Honors College. A student of Political Science, Nathaniel stays engaged with academics, clubs, local campaigns, and more. If he isn’t on the Washington Post’s website, you can find him reading, eating, tweeting, and all that other good stuff millennials do. His biggest passions are politics (duh), music, and travel. Nathaniel is excited for the opportunity to work with an incredible non-profit like The Bus Project, and looks forward to bringing his dedication to local and ethical politics to the fellowship.
Olivia Hasencamp Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Olivia is majoring in Dance Studies at Reed College. She has been involved in organizing on campus as well as in the greater Portland area. She has acurrent focus on racial justice, LGBTQ+ justice, gender equality, and educating youth, with an interest in the ways that different bodies of knowledge–like dancing and cooking!–can be used and valued as sites of teaching and learning in the classroom. Although Olivia likes being busy, her favorite pastimes are having dance parties, reading, hanging out with friends, and drinking a large glass of milk.
And they’re graduating soon!
We wish they could stay at the Bus Project forever, but all good things must come to an end. Save the date for PolitiCorps graduation. Tuesday, August 22nd at 6:30pm. Stay tuned for the details and location!
One last thing–these fellows work hard every day to develop their skills and meet their goals. An average stipend for each fellow is $1700. If just 15 people donated $10 a month we would be able to add another fellow next summer. Please consider chipping in here!
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