We Are Portage Residents Who:
Believe that all political power is inherent in the people, that government is instituted for their equal protection and benefit and that we the people have the right to create a county government with the authority to keep our community healthy, safe and sustainable for us and for our families.
Understand that state government has enacted laws that give preference to corporate activities over our human rights; that corporations headquartered outside our community have obtained permits from the state government to engage in activities that may harm us, without our permission.
Formed a non-profit PAC, and networked with similar groups in
the Ohio Community Rights Network
the National Community Rights Network
Have worked, using citizen initiative, to create a home rule form of county government, which secures for all, our right to participate in local democratic government.
Have worked with CELDF lawyers to craft charters that secure our rights over corporate privileges, secure the Rights of Nature in law, that describe the form of government we have and want.-
Have been blocked by local and state officials on technical details, inspite of following all the administrative rules set out by the Ohio Constitution for a citizen initiative county charter.
In the tradition of other rights movements, we aren't going away, though we're currently on Pause during the COVID shutdown.
WHAT WE'RE PROTECTING
The People: Rural & Urban. While not ethnically very diverse, we are diverse in our rural/urban lives. Portage residents in the eastern half of the county live in small villages and townships with populations of 3,000 or less. In the western half of Portage we find towns and townships of over 5,000 and urban amenities in four cities of 11,000 to 28,000. While urban residents can exercise local citizen initiative and their city councils have the authority to enact the laws local residents want, township citizens have no such local rights and their local elected officials have virtually no authority to protect residents' health and safety. There are no local or state protections ensuring equal treatment under the law for minorities.
Our Water. These diverse life styles are set in a landscape of three important watersheds draining into Lake Erie---The Cuyahoga, Chagrin, Grand Rivers ---and two watersheds east and south draining into the Ohio River--the Mahoning and the Tuscarawas. So Portage is the headwaters for millions of people who depend on these waters.
Our Soil. This geography brings us fresh local food, farmers’ markets, recreation and tourism: The Ohio Farm Bureau lists 18 local farms with farm markets. The Portage Development Board records over 700 farms. The Portage Park District manages 1300 acres of parks & preserves with 14 miles of hike and bike trails.
Our Parks. Portage Parks manages 1,300 acres and 14 miles of hike and bike trails, connecting communities across Portage County, and with other regional trail systems, with an additional 800 acres available for park expansion.
Our Geography. Major highways (I 76 and I80) cross the center of our county, while Interstate 77 and Ohio 11 on the east and west of the county reach into southern Ohio, WV, and PA. These highways bring easy access for commerce---local Chambers of Commerce list over 50 small local Portage County businesses (including 9 manufacturers). Unfortunately, these same highways also provide access for trucks carrying toxic waste from "fracking" from PA and WV, as well as southern Ohio, for injection into Portage County's Class II waste injection wells.
Our Educational Institutions. Finally, even in educational opportunities Portage offers an unusual selection of choices: Kent State (a large regional public research university), Hiram (a small liberal arts private college), Northeast Ohio Medical University, and Fortis (a private career training school).