Measure 94 Recap


In November of 1994, the voters of Oregon approved Measure 11 by a two-thirds majority. This measure set minimum mandatory sentences for the most serious violent crimes and sex offenses. For these crimes, Measure 11 replaced the more lenient pre-existing system, known as Sentencing Guidelines.

Measure 11 was amended by Senate Bill 1049 in 1997. This bill added minimum mandatory sentences for some additional violent crimes and sex offenses, but its main effect was to allow judges to drop out of Measure 11 altogether in the less serious Robbery II, Assault II and Kidnapping II cases, provided the offender had no prior convictions.

People sentenced under Measure 11 and their families did not like it, even after it was amended. They tried to put a measure on the ballot in 1998 to repeal Measure 11, but did not collect enough signatures.

In 2000, they tried again, and this time they succeeded. Measure 94 was slated for the November 2000 ballot. Measure 94 proposed to return to the sentencing guidelines system for the violent crimes and sex offenses covered by Measure 11. All people sentenced under Measure 11, for crimes ranging from robbery to murder, would be resentenced within 90 days. The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, which writes the rules for sentencing guidelines, estimated that 800 Measure 11 offenders would be released from prison in the first 90 days. In addition, all juvenile offenders sentenced under Measure 11 would go back to juvenile court, with ramifications that were not entirely clear.

Measure 94 proponents were well organized and very vocal. They gained the endorsement of organizations such as The Oregon PTA, the AFL-CIO, and the Oregon ACLU. They held a rally in Portland's Pioneer Square, and they flooded the newspapers with letters.

Crime Victims United was joined by Parents of Murdered Children, Inc. and Mothers Against Drunk Driving - Oregon in opposing Measure 94. In addition, many victims of violent crime, labor unions including the Teamsters, law-enforcement groups, the incumbent attorney general and his challenger, the Governor of Oregon, and many other groups and individuals opposed Measure 94.

The campaign was marked by a large number of inaccurate, misleading and false statements from the Measure 94 proponents, including many false statements in the voter's pamphlet.

Crime Victims United worked to expose these false statements and to correct misconceptions left in voters' minds. One aspect of this effort was a lawsuit against one Measure 94 proponent who made especially egregious false statements in the voter's pamphlet.

Toward the end of the campaign, major media outlets started to take notice of the false statements. A 10/27/2000 Oregonian editorial took Measure 94 proponents to task. An Oregonian article exposed as distorted or fabricated most of the stories used by Measure 94 proponents to advance their views.

On November 7, 2000, the voters defeated Measure 94 by a 74% to 26% margin.

Here are some of the headlines, in rough chronological order, that appeared on the Crime Victims United web site during the Measure 94 campaign.

Should Oregonians Repeal Measure 11?

Get the Facts on Measure 94

CVU Urgently Needs Your Contribution To Fight Measure 94

CVU President Speaks On Measure 11 Repeal

Measure 94 Voter's Pamphlet Misstatements

No on 94 Radio Ads Now Running

Crime Victims United Files Lawsuit Over False Statements

Measure 94 Disinformation Campaign Hits Medford School District

Oregon PTA Uses False Statements In Support of Measure 94

Overview of Pro-Measure 94 Disinformation Campaign

Oregonian Article Exposes Measure 94 Proponents Misrepresentations

Oregon Voters Reject Measure 94