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Unger begins work for 'Our Oregon'

Former legislator is new director of progressive organization


Although state Rep. Ben Unger (D-Hillsboro) is stepping away from serving in the Oregon Legislature at the end of this year, he is by no means fading back into the shadows.

Following up on a pledge he made in March when he announced he would not seek a second two-year term, Unger has taken on a leadership role with Our Oregon, a Portland-based organization that fights for progressive causes.

In late June, Unger began serving as the organization’s new executive director. He said he will take a leading role in fighting for causes he believes in and has worked on as a legislator.

“Our Oregon is working to improve our schools, improve the general lot of the middle class and help make sure we have a state that works to raise opportunities for all of Oregon,” Unger said June 30. “This job is a natural extension of a lot of things I fought for and continue to fight for in the Legislature. It’s another angle of the same effort.”

On its official website, Our Oregon is described as “a 501(c)(4) organization dedicated to fighting for economic and social fairness for all Oregonians. Our coalition represents organizations and individuals who care about a range of issues, from preserving funding for our schools and critical services to protecting the environment.”

Unger said he sees Our Oregon’s mission in basic terms.UNGER

“We want to make Oregon a better place to live for everyone, not just a small few, and make sure the state is promoting success for all,” he said.

When Unger unexpectedly announced March 11 — the day of the campaign filing deadline — that he would not run for another term, he explained he intended to continue to advocate for progressive causes.

“I’ve spent my entire life in public service, politics and advocacy,” he wrote in a prepared statement. “I plan to spend the rest of my life on that same path, fighting to make Oregon a better place — simply not as a state representative.”

Unger said his new duties would include a variety of activities and could take him to locations around the state.

“It will be a little bit of everything,” he said. “It’s not a desk job. It’s a return to the hard daily grind of campaigning for progress.”

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