—From wire reports

Voting poll redefines issues

A new poll of Portland-area voters found that 33 percent of them consider homelessness the biggest issue facing the city and region — a sharp increase from past years.

Polling company DHM Research found that sentiment is true of the state’s voters as a whole. The annual telephone poll is commissioned by the Portland Business Alliance.

The latest was conducted in December 2018 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percent. This year, the poll showed homelessness far outstripped other priorities. Affordable housing and traffic congestion were also top concerns.

In the poll, 33 percent of 510 demographically representative voters in the Portland area named something specifically related to homelessness when asked their greatest point of concern. The complaints tended to include people yelling at passersby on the street, trash and other visible symptoms of homelessness.

In 2011, only 1 percent of people polled said homelessness was the city’s biggest problem. Concerns took off after 2014 and have climbed steadily since. From December 2017 to December 2018, that number jumped nearly 10 percentage points.

Concern about lack of affordable housing, one of the main drivers of homelessness in Portland and the West Coast, came in at 11 percent. That is about the same as last year’s poll.

Judge rules on ICE-related case

A Wasco County judge ruled Friday two immigration enforcement practices at the Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Center violate the state’s sanctuary law and upheld the jail’s contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The jail in The Dalles houses inmates for Wasco, Hood River, Sherman and Gilliam counties. Under an interagency agreement reached in 1999, it houses people detained by ICE on illegal immigration allegations.

Wasco County Circuit Judge John Wolf found the regional jail’s past policy of notifying ICE agents of scheduled releases of inmates in state or local criminal cases violated Oregon law that prohibits using state resources to detain someone based on an alleged immigration violation. The judge ruled the jail can’t hold inmates for ICE beyond the time they would face for their criminal charge.

Yet, the judge didn’t nullify the regional jail’s contract with the federal immigration enforcement agency. The jail’s contract didn’t violate state law, Wolf ruled.

Wolf’s ruling means ICE will still be able to house at the regional jail people it detains for alleged immigration violations who are awaiting transportation to prison or a hearing on their immigration status or deportation.

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