Our Work

OCJ works to advance the rights of consumers and end unfair and predatory practices that strip wealth and resources from consumers and families.

Consumer injustices are at every turn, from ever-evolving and more sophisticated scams to navigating unfair debt and lending practices to navigating issues of fraud and unlawful business practices. Across the organization, relationships will make the difference as we boldly move to center consumers in policy and legal conversations. These relationships are vital to the work ahead, providing technical experience and legal know-how to complement community power. OCJ programming will further our shared goals and move our mission forward.

Policy and advocacy

We advocate for pro-consumer policies and an equitable marketplace. OCJ works to prevent bad actors from engaging in practices that exploit or harm consumers—by pushing for more robust consumer protection policies and vigorous enforcement of existing laws. 

During the 2024 Legislative Session, OCJ will champion four pieces of legislation to expand and modernize protections for Oregonians regarding debt collection, right to repair, and consumer medical issues.

The 2023 Legislative Session saw important victories that will benefit Oregon families immediately and long term. Consumer wins include laws to protect against toxic chemicals, expand broadband access, enact safeguards for personal data, and take action on Oregon’s housing crisis. We listened, learned, and showed up for our partners and Oregon consumers throughout our first long legislative session. And in the sessions to come, OCJ will continue to push for policies where people come first, strengthening and expanding consumer rights to ensure bad actors are held accountable when they break the law. 

OCJ issued Policy Grants in 2021-22 that funded five organizations. A primary goal of these grants was to help smaller, culturally-specific organizations with existing relationships in their communities build capacity and explore state-level policy and advocacy projects. We allocated Community and Consumer grants to ten organizations in the same year. All fifteen organizations were invited to participate, with the following organizations comprising our inaugural policy cohort: Bienestar, Centro Cultural, Coalition of Communities of Color, Latino Community Association, NAYA, Oregon Health Equity Alliance, PCUN, Pro-Choice Oregon, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, Reimagine Oregon Project / Urban League of Portland, Rogue Action Center, suma, and Unite Oregon. The policy cohort engaged grantees by fostering an active learning community, providing advocacy training and assistance within a collaborative space, and exploring policy solutions for legislative action.

Community Engagement

We provide Oregonians with tools and information to know how to exercise their consumer rights. We directly engage our communities to understand their experiences and insights and responsively develop the resources that support them to protect themselves.

Created with a consumer attorney and local illustrator, our first Consumer Confidence Comic tackles “Purchasing a Used Car.” This comic supports consumers’ understanding of the used car buying process, providing tangible tips along the way. Available in English and Spanish, these educational comics help consumers confidently navigate this complicated transaction while doubling as a coloring book! Check it out>>

In spring 2023, OCJ engaged with the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center to conduct a statewide consumer survey. The survey results are helping us to better understand consumer protection matters through the lens of a representative sample of Oregonians.

OCJ’s survey findings spotlighted consumer injustices experienced in the past 12 months. Scams/fraud tops the list, and concerns with grocery pricing and telecommunications come in second and third. Oregonians also pointed to solutions in navigating these issues, naming increased access to education and legal services top among their list of desired resources. Other topics include the ability to access to legal representation, concerns around high-interest loans, class action lawsuits, holding companies accountable, and online user agreements.

This brief, pilot survey provides baseline information upon which we can respond and build over time. We will grow our research by implementing a two-part survey in the coming year.

One of OCJ’s early research initiatives comes through a partnership with the University of Oregon. The court order that created OCJ also commits $300,000 annually to the University of Oregon. This amount is to fund research that advances consumer protection throughout the state. Covering a range of consumer-related research areas, a total of $265,936 in grants were awarded earlier this year to twelve projects led by both faculty and graduate students.

Legal solutions

We safeguard consumer rights, expand access to justice, strengthen the consumer legal community, and fight for legal rulings that improve consumer outcomes.

In 2024, our legal services will launch, beginning with direct representation, and later, we will also take on impact litigation (e.g., class actions) to affect large-scale change.

OCJ’s community-centered policy and engagement programming pairs synergistically with our legal pursuits, clearing a path to transform Oregon’s consumer landscape to one where we all can experience good health, joy, and economic opportunities. By scaffolding our efforts internally and externally, we are gaining momentum and growing a justice movement where people come first.