Bonamici launches campaign for housing measures, against 'anti-immigrant' measure
U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici launched Washington County efforts Saturday in favor of ballot measures to support housing and against a measure she labeled as "anti-immigrant."
"We want to send a message in Oregon that we respect people no matter where they came from or who they are," Bonamici said to a gathering at the Beaverton Wellness Center operated by Virginia Garcia Memorial Health.
Among the canvassers who visited neighborhoods were Mayor Denny Doyle, Councilor Lacey Beaty and Felicita Monteblanco, a Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District board member. They were joined by some Hillsboro officials.
They focused on three measures on the Nov. 6 ballot:
• Measure 105 would repeal the 1987 law that keeps state and local police and prosecutors out of federal immigration-law enforcement, although the law allows them to check the immigration status of someone arrested for a crime and share information about foreign-born nationals in jail.
• Measures 102 and 26-199 are related to housing. Measure 26-199 is a bond proposed by the Metro Council to raise $652.8 million for subsidized housing in the three Portland-area counties. Measure 102 would remove a state constitutional restriction on bond proceeds, a step that would enable the public-private partnerships commonly used to build such housing.
Bonamici is a Democrat from Beaverton who represents the 1st District of northwest Oregon, including Washington County and part of Multnomah County west of the Willamette River. Washington County is Oregon's most diverse, with one in three residents from racial and ethnic minorities and one in six born outside the United States.
"Make no mistake: Measure 105 is being driven by people who are fueled by anti-immigrant rhetoric coming out of this administration. It's a hateful measure," she said.
"They are playing on fear and saying this is going to make us safer if we repeal this law. That is not true. I am proud of our Washington County sheriff and district attorney and others in law enforcement who have stepped up."
Oregonians for Immigration Reform, which backs Measure 105, has disputed the opposition statements by District Attorney Kevin Barton and Sheriff Pat Garrett. The group argues that people who are in the United States illegally — which is treated as a civil infraction — escape scrutiny by state and local agencies because of the law.
Bonamici spent part of her early career as a lawyer for Legal Aid.
"When you work there, you understand quickly that people do not struggle by choice. Often people have lost a job, lost a spouse, have medical bills they could not pay — and they need help getting back on their feet," she said. "This is going to make a difference for affordable housing across the region."
Doyle is on the steering committee promoting Measure 26-199, which is supported by the Beaverton City Council but opposed by two Washington County commissioners, Chairman Andy Duyck and Bob Terry, a finalist to succeed Duyck in the Nov. 6 election. Commissioners Greg Malinowski and Dick Schouten — both of whom represent Beaverton and nearby communities — support it.
Doyle said he is satisfied that cities and counties, not Metro, will have the leeway to build projects if voters approve the bond. Beaverton, because it administers its own federal block grants for community development, can obtain its share directly from Metro.
"That is why I am 100 percent behind this," Doyle said afterward. "People talk about the need, but nobody does anything. I hope the region will step up. This may be 10 percent of the solution, but it's way better than zero. We have to stop talking; we have to start doing."
He said that point was brought home to him at a neighborhood meeting earlier Saturday, when he spoke with the owners of a small company that would like to hire more people and have found willing workers.
"But it's really hard to hire somebody without a home," he said. "To get these folks to work, we need to supply housing for them and their families."
The Beaverton council also voted Oct. 2 to oppose Measure 105 — and Doyle said he is in full agreement with that resolution.
"If the federal government comes to Beaverton police or the Washington County sheriff and says someone needs to be arrested because they are accused of a specific crime, it's done," Doyle said.
"But we are not going to do the federal government's job and waste taxpayer dollars. This (repeal) will make us put local dollars into federal work — and if voters in this state want that, that is what they are going to get."