Charles Denson

Membership director of CLDC

Photo by Paul Neevel

Though he was born in Eugene, Charles Denson moved to Silver City, Nevada, with his parents when he was 6. “We came back to visit family in the summer and for weddings,” he says. “I moved back in 2006 after high school and got started at Lane Community College.” He began to volunteer with campus groups addressing environmental and social justice issues, and he traveled to Copenhagen in 2009 with a group of young people to lobby U.S. delegates to the United Nations negotiations on climate change. “It was my first involvement with protests and direct actions,” he says. Also in 2009, he helped organize Power Shift, an environmental conference at the University of Oregon, and he became acquainted with the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC) through its workshops and trainings for activists on complex legal issues. Denson graduated from the UO in 2012 with a degree in political science and then spent two years as a field organizer for the Democratic Party in Arizona and Iowa. Early in 2015, he started work at CLDC as membership director. “Now I’m associate director,” he says. “My job is mostly outreach, event planning, fundraising, all the non-lawyer stuff. In less than two years, we’ve worked on a lot of great cases and trained over 5,000 people.” CLDC will present Theater of Dissent, an evening of benefit dinner theater, 6 to 9 pm Thursday, Oct. 27, at the Wesley Center, 2520 Harris Street in Eugene. CLDC lawyers Lauren Regan and Cooper Brinson will portray themselves in a mock court scene, defending activists arrested at a pipeline project. Purchase tickets for $50 and read about real-life CLDC court cases at