CORVALLIS, OR: On Monday, November 7, 2022, the Corvallis City Council unanimously passed a resolution to prohibit the city from investing in weapons of war. The resolution passed following years of advocacy work by the Corvallis Divest from War coalition, including an initial hearing in February 2020 where the resolution was voted down.
The coalition represents 19 organizations: Veterans For Peace Linus Pauling Chapter 132, WILPF Corvallis, Our Revolution Corvallis Allies, Raging Grannies of Corvallis, Pacific Green Party Linn Benton Chapter, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism Corvallis, Corvallis Palestine Solidarity, World BEYOND War, CODEPINK, Race Matters Group of Corvallis United Church of Christ, Electrify Corvallis, Corvallis Interfaith Climate Justice Committee, Corvallis Climate Action Alliance, OR Physicians for Social Responsibility, Buddhists Responding – Corvallis, Oregon PeaceWorks, NAACP Linn/Benton Chapter, Sangha Jewel, and Sunrise Corvallis. The Divest Corvallis resolution at the time of passage had over 49 individual endorsers as well.
The City of Corvallis joins New York City, NY; Burlington, VT; Charlottesville, VA; Berkeley, CA; and San Luis Obispo, CA, among other cities in the U.S. and worldwide, in committing to divest public funds from weapons of war. While Corvallis does not currently hold investments in weapons manufacturers, the passage of this resolution marks a significant commitment for the city to support peace and life-affirming industries in all future investments.
“I want to help create a better world that can live constructively. The human gift of the capacity for problem-solving needs to be nurtured more than war’s vast infrastructure […] We must think our way there together. This Divest from War Resolution is a way for us to practice imagining new futures as a community,” said Linda Richards, Divest Corvallis member and professor of history at Oregon State University. Richards is also a member of Linus Pauling VFP, joining VFP members Bill Glassmire and Joel Inman in speaking for the resolution.
The Divest from War resolution builds off of the momentum of Corvallis’ robust peace and climate justice movements. In the public comment section, coalition and VFP member Bill Glassmire spoke about the 19 year-long daily peace vigil held in Corvallis by late activist Ed Epley, which eventually led to the formation of the Corvallis Divest from War coalition. The Divest from War coalition also base their work in the climate justice movement, citing that the U.S. military is the biggest institutional producer of greenhouse gasses in the world.
“It’s estimated that the U.S. military emits more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than entire countries, like Denmark and Portugal,” said Barry Reeves, a member of Buddhists Responding – Corvallis. “It is important for us, as a part of civil society, and for those of us in the council of government, to respond and begin the transformation to a sustainable future. May we remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. And this resolution can be seen as a first step,” he added.