A PORTLAND JUDGE'S ruling this month is dismantling controversial jail "holds" on undocumented immigrants throughout the state.
In less than a week, the ruling has spurred changes that immigrant advocates have demanded for years. Sheriffs in at least nine Oregon counties—including Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington—announced they'll now reject hold requests made by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Plus the ruling by US Magistrate Judge Janice Stewart—first reported by the Mercury—could have national implications.
Under a years-old program, ICE frequently requested that jails hold prisoners it suspected were undocumented—usually for 48 hours past the time they'd otherwise be released. That gave the agency time to arrange to pick up the prisoners and possibly initiate deportation proceedings.
Many sheriffs have argued ICE's requests were actually mandates, since one part of the request said they "shall" hold prisoners for the agency. But Stewart's April 11 ruling—like another recent decision out of Philadelphia—said that's not the case. And Stewart ruled the Clackamas County Jail actually violated a woman's constitutional rights by holding her for 19 hours, with an ICE request as the only basis.
"It's been our position for a long time that this is a very harmful practice," says Becky Straus, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon. "What we're now seeing is courts are saying the same thing. The tide is turning." DIRK VANDERHART
PORTLAND POLICE OFFICERS shot and wounded a 20-year-old man in the chaotic aftermath of an alleged burglary, car chase, and manhunt early April 16 in Southwest Portland—marking the second police shooting in a month and the third in a row in which the person shot by officers also reportedly fired a gun. Paul Alan Ropp, facing several felony charges including attempted murder, is accused of wounding a police officer, Jeffrey Dorn, and killing a police dog, Mick, who'd been sent out to chase Ropp down. Ropp and two suspected accomplices are accused of plotting a series of burglaries in the weeks before the shooting. DENIS C. THERIAULT
THE CITY'S NEWEST water and sewer watchdog won't tell you how to vote next month, when citizens decide whether to put the utilities in the hands of a new elected board. Instead, the Citizens' Utility Board of Oregon (CUB) is taking a neutral position on Measure 26-156, which would snatch control of the Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services from city council.
But a Q&A press release from the organization isn't so impartial. The document includes frequent allusions to the difficulties the new board could create—higher interest rates and skittish wholesale customers, among them—without listing any benefits. DVH