Mental Health Alliance

The Mental Health Alliance amplifies the voices of people with mental illness, trauma, addiction, and alcoholism in legal and legislative public policy discussions.

The Mental Health Alliance was formed in 2018 to join the continuing Federal lawsuit, United States v. City of Portland as an amicus curie – or “friend of the court.”

Organizations which represent the interests of people with mental illness and have long participated in efforts to reduce police use of force used against people with mental illness – Disability Rights Oregon, the Oregon Justice Resource Center, the Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance, and the Mental Health Association of Portland, joined together to form the Alliance. Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare was an initial member of the Alliance.

Legislative Advocacy

The Alliance is developing an agenda and a voice of people with personal experience with mental illness to bring to the legislative process. In 2022 the organization authored and supported Senate Bills SB 236, SB 237, and SB 915.

About United States v. City of Portland

In 2014 the US Department of Justice issued a finding statement saying the Portland Police Bureau had a “pattern and practice” of using too much force with people with mental illness. In response to United States v. City of Portland, the defendant city offered a lengthy settlement agreement to the DOJ. Judge Michael Simon convened a hearing to ask about the fairness of the settlement. Is it reasonable? Is it adequate? Is it fair? Finding the agreement reasonable, adequate and fair, he continues to hold regular semi-annual status hearings where the parties, amicus curie, and the public can speak to whether the settlement remains reasonable, adequate and fair.

Meaning of amicus curie

Amicus curie is a latin term used in American and English law to identify an impartial adviser, often both voluntary and selected by the judge, to a court of law in a particular case.

Organizational Members of the Mental Health Alliance

The goal of Oregon Justice Resource Center is to promote civil rights and improve legal representation for communities that have often been underserved in the past: people living in poverty and people of color among them. They work in collaboration with other, like-minded, organizations to maximize our reach to serve underrepresented populations, to train future public interest lawyers, and to educate our community on issues related to civil rights and civil liberties.

Disability Rights Oregon is a nonprofit that works to transform systems, policies, and practices to give more people the opportunity to reach their full potential. DRO serves as Oregon’s federally-mandated Protection & Advocacy service, and their attorneys have represented people with mental illness as individuals in court, in class action suits, and in investigative advocacy.

Mental Health Association of Portland provides impartial and independent advocacy for persons with mental illness and addiction. This peer-driven organization maintains advisory councils and committees for individual educational and service projects.

The Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance represents communities of faith throughout the City of Portland.

Members of the Mental Health Alliance Work Group include

Rochelle Silver PhD spent her career treating patients at the Oregon State Hospital
Patrick Nolen is member of the Portland Peace Team
Meredith Mathis is a graduate of Lewis & Clark Law School
Amanda J. Marshall JD is a juvenile law & civil commitment attorney
Rabbi Ariel Stone leads Congregation Shir Tikvah and Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance
Jason Renaud is a nonprofit consultant
Mary-Margaret Wheeler-Weber is President of the Mental Health Association of Portland
Javonnie Shearn is chair of the Oregon State Hospital Advisory Committee
KC Lewis, JD is an attorney with Metropolitan Public Defender
Jonathan Brown PhD, MPP is a retired epidemiologist and world health researcher
Eben Hoffer MFA is a theater artist and an arts advocate
Jane Remfert is a PhD candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University studying biodiversity in human managed landscapes
Beatrix Li is a community organizer and activist
Dave Boyer is the managing attorney for Disability Rights Oregon

Work group members for policy and legislative advocacy include Beckie Child PhD, Aimee Sukol JD MA MS Ed, Bob Joondeph JD, Karen James, and Tara Candela JD, PNP.

Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare was a founding member of the MHA 2017-2019.


The Mental Health Alliance is represented in courts by Juan C. Chavez, Franz Bruggemeier, and Amanda Lamb of the Oregon Justice Resource Center. You can contact Mr. Chavez at jchavez @ For general information about the Alliance, message

Other amicus curie for United States v. City of Portland

One other organization joined United States v. City of Portland as an “enhanced” amicus curie in 2015. They are the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Peace and Justice Reform. The Portland Police Association joined in 2015 as a defendant-intervenor.