The Pacific Green Party of Oregon is a member of the Green Party of the United States, which first gained widespread public attention during Ralph Nader's presidential campaign in 2000.
Pacific Green Party candidates have won elected office mostly at the local level; most winners of public office in Oregon who are considered Greens have won nonpartisan-ballot elections (that is, elected to positions for which no candidate is listed with any party on the ballot).
Pacific Greens emphasize grassroots democracy, social justice, nonviolence, environmentalism,decentralization and local autonomy, in keeping with the Green parties' endorsement of the Ten Key Values.
Many of the party's early electoral candidates were also highly involved in the forest protection movement. These included candidate for United States Senate Lou Gold in 1994; Joe Keating for Congress and Andy Davis for state representative in 1996; and Blair Bobier for governor and Karen Moskowitz for U.S. Senate in 1998. Davis and Keating were arrested for civil disobedience at the United States Forest Service office building in downtown Portland during the campaign, chaining themselves to a desk along with local activist attorney Stu Sugarman. This action was followed by activist Tre Arrow's ledge-sit at the same building several years later. Moskowitz has been visible at various Earth First! gatherings and is a well-known economist who proved that the Forest Service sells public timber at less than the public expense of administering timber sales.
Ralph Nader was the party's nominee for President of the United States in 1996, and his vice-presidential candidate, Winona LaDuke, came to Portland and walked a local picket line in support of raising the minimum wage. In addition to running candidates for office that year, the Pacific Party helped pass initiatives to raise the state minimum wage and expand the Portland area light rail system.
In 2000, in addition to nominating Ralph Nader for the Presidency, the Green Party nominated environmental activist Tre Arrow to run for Oregon's 3rd congressional district against incumbent Earl Blumenauer. Arrow had gained prominence in July 2000 by staging a high-profile protest in downtown Portland, Oregon, when he scaled a United States Forest Service building and lived on a ledge for 11 days to protest the plan to log Eagle Creek. His protest played an important role in reversing the Forest Service's plans to log the area. Arrow received 15,000 votes in his run for Congress. In 2001 Arrow appeared on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's "most wanted" list in connection with arson, and other activities of the Earth Liberation Front. Arrow, who was apprehended in Canada, was sentenced in August 2008 in a Portland, Oregon federal court to 78 months in federal prison for his part in two arson attacks in 2001.
In 2004, Teresa Keane, the Green Party's candidate for the United States Senate, won 2.4% of the vote – more than any other Green candidate for the U.S. Senate in that year. In 2006 Keane was elected Chair of the newly formed Green Senatorial Campaign Committee (GSCC), a seven-member committee elected by the National Committee of the Green Party of the United States to raise funds for senate candidates.
The party's platform emphasizes environmentalism, social justice, social democratic policies, respect for diversity, peace and nonviolence. The party's platform outlines the following positions and policies:
- Repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act
- Immediate end to the U.S. military occupation of Iraq
- Public campaign financing for all campaigns for public office and strict limits on political campaign contributions
- Supports net neutrality
- Supports instant run-off voting, proportional representation in the Oregon State Legislature, and proportional allocation of Oregon's Electoral College (United States) votes by Congressional district with the end goal of electing the President solely by the popular vote with the abolishment of the Electoral College (United States)
- Voting rights for prisoners
- Passage of a Single-payer health care system
- Protection of a women's right to abortion and supportive of legal physician-assisted suicide
- Supports legal same-sex marriage including gay adoption
- Establishment of carbon taxes to promote use of renewable energy
- Opposed to nuclear weapons and to using nuclear power to generate electricity
- Supports legalization and cultivation of hemp and marijuana
- Supports a ban on patent claims on naturally originating organisms and plants
- Supports the establishment of a federal Department of Peace
- Reduce the military budget of the United States to less than $150 billion annually
- Supports emphasizing prevention and rehabilitation over incarceration and repealing the Oregon Ballot Measure 11 (1994) that established mandatory minimum sentences
- Wants to release every person who was convicted of only nonviolent, victimless drug crimes from prison
- Opposed to private prisons
- Abolish the death penalty
- Abolish the state's lottery