Activists plan march in Hillsboro

Article subtitle: 
March and rally will begin at Shute Park on Feb. 7 and continue on to the Hillsboro Civic Center.
Article author: 
Travis Loose
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Article date: 
Monday, January 16, 2017
Article category: 
Oregon Issues
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Washington County activist groups are rallying others to join a march on Hillsboro's Civic Center.

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, WashCo Solidarity, the Student Movement, Voz Hispana, and Milenio will "rally and march to demand Hillsboro City Council pass our resolution to make Hillsboro a 'sanctuary city,' as Beaverton already has," WashCo Solidarity told the Tribune in an email on Friday.

Beginning at Shute Park at 5 p.m., the marchers will trek to the Civic Center, 150 E. Main St., to make their demands during the city council meeting where the council is expected to make its vacant council seat appointment.

The march and rally was originally planned for Jan. 17, but was postponed.

Beaverton's City Council passed a "sanctuary city" resolution at its meeting Jan. 10. Hillsboro's council has deliberated and discussed the same move since early December, when WashCo Solidarity and Voz Hispana members demanded the city take action, but the council has so far been reluctant to give Hillsboro the same designation.

'Sanctuary city' is a legally non-binding term used by cities to indicate they will protect undocumented immigrants and other marginalized groups — including the LGBTQ community, religious groups, and people of color — from deportation or other acts of hate.

In passing its sanctuary city resolution, the Beaverton City Council said the city was "committed to providing a safe community for individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, place of origin, or immigration status, and works to ensure that all members of the community are safe and can call for public safety assistance without fear of reprisal based solely on federal immigration status, in accordance with current Oregon law."

In Hillsboro, former mayor Jerry Willey previously read a statement in December affirming the city's commitment to protect all its residents, but stopped short of calling the city a "sanctuary."

At its Jan. 3 meeting, as the new council and old council negotiated through its transition, the councilors decided in a 4 - 2 vote to postpone the final sanctuary decision until they appoint a councilor to fill the seat left vacant by Mayor Steve Callaway, who was formerly the council president.

The activist groups didn't plan on waiting, however, for the council's Feb. 7 appointment.

"We need to hear the words — sanctuary city," WashCo Solidarity wrote. "Hillsboro has 25,000 (Latino residents) who are integral to the fabric and life of the community. How can we call ourselves a community if we tolerate some of us being treated as lesser human beings and targeted because of their skin color?"

March leaders said that they have not requested permits to march to the Council meeting, saying they don't need permission from the city to assemble.

"We have heard some positive and enthusiastic feedback from many community members about what we're doing, and we're here for the community," WashCo Solidarity wrote. "Law enforcement and city officials work for us, not vice versa — don't they? Unless we're ready to admit we live in a police state, we don't rely on the feedback of the state; they rely on our feedback."

In its statement, WashCo Solidarity officials said that they won't take no for an answer.

"We will hold (the Hillsboro City Council) accountable if they fail," they wrote. "Toothless promises and words not backed up by action will only strengthen our resolve."