The View From Here

My View Is…

by Ed Kroll, OCDLA President

From the August-September-October 2015 issue of The Oregon Defense Attorney.

When I realized I had to write this column, the first thing I was struck by was the name. The View From Here. The view from where? If said view is based on my height, then nope, that’s not going to work. Then I wondered if it could refer to the county I practice in most (which also happens to be the most appealed and reversed county in the state). But that was just depressing. Then I realized maybe it’s supposed to refer to the Big Picture—the overview of OCDLA from the president position. But that struck me as strange, too. Why should the president or the board be more informed or involved than all OCDLA members?

My view is that we’re an organization dedicated to helping each other. Public, private, contract, consortium, dabblers, and anyone in between. OCDLA was started as an educational organization, but it’s more than that—it’s a family, a support group, a team. We’ve had some rocky times in the past, but we’ve pulled together and gotten through them. We’ve had discussions, debates, and even arguments on the listserv (I’ve been guilty of that at least once), and we pick each other up and soldier on.

Because OCDLA is our organization. It only is what we make of it. We’re in a unique position now, and perhaps better situated politically than we have ever been. We have supporters in the legislature, and Jennifer Williamson is set to be the next Majority Leader in Oregon’s House. This is the time when we need to make a push, both in dedication and in membership.

The grand jury recording bill was tabled in large part due to late political pressure from the Oregon District Attorneys’ Association. Like it or not, ODAA and their allies still wield some real influence over legislators (although I hear Kevin Mannix is having some problems of his own right now). But the bill got as far as it did in 2015 in large part because of the push all of us made—testifying live, submitting statements, writing op-eds—we finally took control of the narrative and showed Salem that our voice matters. If we continue, there is every chance that we will get this important bill passed during the short session in 2016.

My view is that there are several unsung people who make OCDLA tick. The true heroes here are the dedicated staff members of OCDLA—Executive Director John Potter, Bookkeeper Alene Sybrant, Executive Assistants Tracye May & Jennifer Root, and Development Coordinator Jeff Richards. Without all of them putting in the efforts they do, OCDLA would crumble in an instant. These folks do an incredible job behind the scenes, and aren’t recognized nearly as often as they deserve.

My view is that OCDLA is what we make of it. The Board of Directors does things like set budgets and schedule conferences, but the end goal should always be to do what would benefit the members most. But to do this, we need to hear from you. OCDLA has a metric ton (well, 14) of volunteer committees that advise the Board and help steer the ship. Without them, again, we would be nothing.

So please—get involved. Contact your Board reps if there’s something you want discussed. Come to a meeting. Volunteer for a committee — all the chairs are listed here — they’d love to add you to the mix. This organization was started to support one another, and that’s the only way it can continue. So that’s the view I hope to see. All of us, standing shoulder to shoulder.