ROUND 'EM UP!Two years ago, the local chapter of the Immigration & Naturalization Service underwent intense public scrutiny and a media roast after reports surfaced that agents were detaining Vietnamese, Laotian and Russian immigrants in county jails for indefinite stretches of time. The calamity came to a head when a Chinese businesswoman traveling through PDX airport was strip-searched and jailed for two days in The Dalles, in spite of no real violations. A judge awarded her $250,000 and the local INS director, David Beebe, stepped down in disgrace. In the wake of the scandals, the INS pledged to operate more fairly and candidly.

But September 11 seems to have erased those promises. Last week, the deadline passed for a new rule requiring citizens of Arab nations to register with the INS. After an estimated 700 men were detained in LA during a similar registration drive, many here worried that the registration process would result in their detention. The estimate nationwide is 1700 persons, but local INS authorities have refused to divulge just how many people have been detained so far in Portland.

The next wave of Portland visitors--this time from Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan and Kuwait--are required to pop into their local INS office between February 24 and March 28. JAYMEE CUTI/JOSHUA CINELLI

KIND OF GUILTY[The following is a follow-up from a former Mercury reporter.--ed] Judge Harold Blank of the Multnomah Circuit Court delivered a mixed message last week in the case of this reporter's arrest during last summer's dockworkers rally, which I covered for the Mercury. On August 12, a critical-mass-style bike ride was organized to coincide with a rally by striking longshore workers. While photographing the ride, I was singled out by police officers, tackled, and slammed onto the pavement. The arresting officers claimed I refused to pull over and attempted to flee.

Judge Blank found me guilty of failing to obey a police officer and failure to use a bike lane. Yet, despite the guilty verdict, Judge Blank also noted that a good deal of doubt remained as to whether I had actually committed these violations. Citing the "special circumstances" surrounding my arrest, the judge ignored statutory minimum penalties and issued fines totaling $35, far below the $388 this now out-of-state reporter could have been forced to add to your cash-strapped budget. Sorry. BILL LASCHER