Peace and Justice Works/Portland Copwatch
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
(503) 236-3065 (office)


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE          March 28, 2005
                  Contact: Dan Handelman, Peace and Justice Works

Court Case Rejected After 6-1/2 years on a Deadline Discrepancy

Local activist Dan Handelman, a member of Peace and Justice Works (PJW), released information today showing that the Portland Police Bureau's Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU) improperly spied on him and the group between 1998 and 2000, after the CIU had joined the Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force (PJTTF). The information had been part of a federal lawsuit filed by Handelman and PJW alleging a violation of civil rights under Oregon State law prohibiting the collection and maintenance of information on individuals or groups not engaged in criminal activity (ORS 181.575). The lawsuit was dismissed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on March 2nd on the incorrect basis of a late filing date; the substance of the suit, alleging several violations of the state law, was not addressed by the court.

"The only reason we ever found out about this incident of spying, or the earlier 1992 instance of Portland Police spying on us, was that someone else was arrested and the information surfaced in criminal cases," Handelman said today. "Our case shows exactly why the City's insistence that they have complete oversight of what their officers are doing is crucial, and why the Oregonian's assertion that the City should wait until it can prove the PJTTF has violated someone's rights is short-sighted."

Peace and Justice Works' Iraq Affinity Group coordinated a protest action against the Clinton Administration's bombing of Iraq in December, 1998. Several individuals who broke away from that action were eventually arrested by Portland Police. During their criminal hearings, a document was released listing Handelman (with his name spelled wrong) and Peace and Justice Works, specifically under "non-criminal info" and stating only that they had organized many demonstrations against U.S. policy in Iraq. (Posted at

The document, originally printed on red paper, appeared to be in violation of the decision in Squirrel v. the City of Portland (1996), which involved an earlier instance where the CIU spied on PJW at its quarterly meeting in 1992. (Document posted at ) In the 1992 spying incident, the title of the document was "Civilian Police Review Board," and the judge who heard the Squirrel case wondered "what possible criminal activity could be involved in asking for a stronger civilian police review board?"

The outcome of Squirrel was that the CIU was directed to review its files two months and then two years after creating them to be sure they complied with state law.

Then, in 1997, the members of the CIU were deputized when the Clinton 1996 Anti-Terrorism Bill provided for the creation of Joint Terrorism Task Forces all over the U.S. Specifically, the Nike World Games in Beaverton were cited as a potential terrorist target and Portland joined other local and national law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, in the task force.

Handelman and PJW initially filed for contempt of court in the Squirrel case based on the 1998 document. The City argued that they had no standing in the case because they were not Mr. Squirrel.

However, during the discovery phase of that case, in July, 2000, the City admitted that they had a "small number of documents" listing Handelman and/or PJW, which the Police Bureau had turned over to the City Attorney's office in January of that year. (Document posted at )

In July, 2002, two years after the discovery of the existence of the "small number of documents," but within the time frame for filing a civil suit, Handelman and PJW sued the City based on the existence of those, still unseen, documents.

Despite the fact that the Oregon statute specifically prohibits the "collection or maintenance" of information on those who are not suspected of criminal activity, Handelman's attorneys argued that the City had admitted to collecting the information, even if they did not maintain it. Because of the court's decision on the deadline issue, the question of the collection of information on Handelman with no suspicion of criminal activity has not been addressed.

In November, 2004, the 9th Circuit Court agreed with a Federal Magistrate's decision from February, 2003 that the lawsuit should have been filed earlier. Handelman and PJW filed an petition for rehearing which clearly showed that the timeline had been met. The 9th Circuit Court rejected that petition on March 2.

The Portland Police in the CIU were involved in these activities, which implies that they have have acted similarly in their capacity as deputized members of the federal Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force. PJW's case underscores the possibility that similar such files exist on a local or national level about other individuals and groups, perhaps based solely on their political, religious or social affiliations.

Peace and Justice Works' other major project group, Portland Copwatch, has been following the issue of the Joint Terrorism Task Force since October, 2000, when Handelman discovered the renewal of the Task Force on the City Council's "Consent Agenda" (an item with no discussion). More information is available on the Portland Copwatch website at

For more information contact Dan Handelman at Peace and Justice Works, 503-236-3065.


July 26, 1992: Peace and Justice Works (then Portland Peaceworks) quarterly meeting at Col. Summers Park

July 18, 1993: Douglas Squirrel, a member of PJW, arrested for disorderly conduct while observing the scene of the "Anarchist Riot" on W. Burnside

June 28, 1996: Squirrel v. City of Portland decided in favor of Squirrel; a document that surfaced after the 1993 arrest revealed Portland Criminal Intelligence Unit officers had illegally spied on him at the 1992 PJW meeting.

1997: Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force created; Criminal Intelligence Unit officers begin working with the FBI

December 17, 1998: PJW Iraq Affinity Group participates in demonstration against US Bombing of Iraq at the Federal Building. 26 people not affiliated with PJW are arrested, mostly at Pioneer Courthouse Square.

September, 1999: During the criminal trials for the 1998 arrests, a document surfaced revealing that the Criminal Intelligence Unit had infiltrated the protest and listed "Dan Handleman [sic]" under "non-criminal info."

September 22, 1999: Handelman and PJW file for contempt of court in the Squirrel case

January, 2000: The Criminal Intelligence Unit moves "a small number of documents" which relate to Handelman and/or PJW to the City Attorney's office

July 14, 2000: The City of Portland reveals the existence of the "small number of documents" in response to a discovery request.

November 21, 2000: The community first learns about the PJTTF at a City Council hearing on its renewal.

July 10, 2002: Handelman and PJW file lawsuit in federal court alleging violation of civil rights

April 16, 2003: US Magistrate Donald Ashmanskas dismisses the case on the basis of timeliness

May 15, 2003: Handelman and PJW appeal to the 9th Circuit

Nov 18, 2004: 9th Circuit panel agrees with lower court ruling; Handelman and PJW file motion to reconsider

March 2, 2005: 9th Circuit rejects motion to reconsider


To Peace and Justice Works home page
To Portland Copwatch overflow page
To Portland Copwatch home page