House Bill 2921 would repeal the Oregon Sanctuary Law and require local officials to assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in identifying and detaining immigrants. Oregon's 1987 sanctuary law protects immigrants and nonimmigrants alike from harassment from federal agents. Both groups contribute to society through work and taxes; both deserve protection from civil rights violations.
A "freedom cities" proposal by the American Civil Liberties Uniion identifies nine principles for adoption by local governments to help implement sanctuary. Milwaukie and Portland conform to many of them. One exception, the Defined Access/Interview Rule, prohibits ICE agents from accessing local facilities without court authorization for interview purposes. Without this rule, agents can enter public buildings without warrants to interview people who look like immigrants.
Finding a way to have localities conform to this principle would be a positive step toward building stronger communities. Repealing the sanctuary law would promote fear and division, a step backward.
Help strengthen community by urging your legislators to vote against HB 2921, encourage local officials to adopt the Defined Access/Interview Rule, and refuse to sign the ballot initiative petition intended to repeal the sanctuary law.
Reduce immigration; improve quality of life
While Tom Shillock (Letters, May 11) describes well some of the problems associated with the tiny house movement, there's a more fundamental issue at play here that no one seems to recognize.
What happens to the quality of life when our population continues its explosive path at the rate of one person added every 14 seconds, with no end in sight? The U.S. Census population clock tells us we have one birth every eight seconds, one death every 12 seconds, one international migrant (net) every 32 seconds.
People don't like to be crowded together like ant colonies. Witness the perennial zoning battles when developers want to build more density into established neighborhoods.
The easiest recourse is to reduce immigration. It is the major cause of overpopulation. In recent years, depending on the methodology used, immigration directly and indirectly accounted for 60 to 80 percent of U.S. population growth.
Our natural environment is increasingly being damaged by overpopulation, which affects water resources, air quality, climate and every aspect of social and economic issues.
Tiny houses are just a Band-Aid when major surgery is needed.
Elizabeth Van Staaveren
State budget needs leadership
I have been watching with interest as the drama around the state budget unfolds. It appears that we remain in the "kick-the-can" mode. I am extremely disappointed with what I see. It seems that legislators continue to generate ways to spend money, many of which are laudable (subsidies for first-time owners, money for water storage in Eastern Oregon, money for methane digestors, accelerated depreciation, more task forces and commissions, more money for wine marketing, etc.).
But we have a $1.6 billion shortfall and no clear way to pay for it. In fact, if we really want a good education system, our shortfall is closer to $2.6 billion. All the well-intentioned committees are kicking the can to Ways and Means and Revenue, with everything to be decided by small groups in a rush as the Legislature goes into June. We cannot spend money we don't have.
I like clever ways to incentivize solar, and more money for water resources and rural economic development, but we just have to stop. Nothing new until we pay our existing obligations. No more cuts to education, and where is the leadership on this? Everyone says education is a priority but the recent "leadership" budget, with 5 to 10 percent cuts in many educational sectors, belies that priority. We need new revenue (Democrats),and we need to bend the cost curve (Republicans).
An argument for tiny houses
In the May 11 letter "'Tiny houses' merely a feel-good solution," the opening statement certainly feels like an insult to the homeless, as it suggests the homeless have no income. I seriously doubt that. Shall we ask a few of them?
While I find the letter to be well-written, it appears the writer is missing the point. Tiny houses have the remarkable ability to create a smaller footprint. It's not like Portland has a large inventory of available spaces for housing. And the influx of people moving here in droves multiplies the already stressed roads and commute times. Portland is my hometown, and I have watched it evolve into something it was never designed to be — a huge metropolis.
My research indicates some folks simply prefer living in tiny houses, proud of the fact they have downsized and disposed of tons of stuff they really don't use or need. Many take heart in the fact they are a part of this positive movement and are pushing Portland to the forefront of developing tiny house villages that are kind to the environment. The tiny houses I have seen in person mesh together like a fine orchestra. They are artsy, cleverly designed and well-built.
I applaud the individuals who have taken the step to downsize and adapt to a tiny house, as I have read many of their stories.
This overall picture of tiny houses fits Portland like a good pair of shoes ... leaving nice footprints in our city.
Mark L. Brown
This is no way to behave
Are we all losing our minds? I opened my May 4 copy of The Portland Tribune and came across the article "Protesters' rioting mars May Day rally," which made we seriously wonder. What does destroying property, setting fires and blocking streets have to do with May Day?
With so many challenges and opportunities to do constructive things like helping the homeless by getting them off the streets, helping people get jobs to support their families, giving our time to charities, I find such demonstrations senseless and a waste of energy. Just how much character does it take to dress in black, wear a cloth over your face so that you can't be identified when you destroy private property or violate the civil rights of others? This can only have a bad ending. My mom always told me that "anger begets anger," so rather than bringing us together to help others who are struggling, the focus of such groups is on destruction and a dead end.
I then turn on the television news and witness on a daily basis the hysteria going on in our nation's capital. The appalling hypocrisy is outrageous, and rather than putting their energy to get our people back to work, make certain that Americans have a health plan that they can afford, cutting taxes, improving our infrastructure and other positive programs, our legislators are focused on party first, ideology second (re-election) and their citizens third, which is appalling. However, I have to remind myself that we elected these people who represent us and we get what we vote for.
If we want to act like a "Third World nation," then we will truly become one.
Louis H. Bowerman