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Monday, June 25, 2007

Oregon Governor Kulongoski signs the (towing) bills!


L-R
Dylan Ordonez (staff for Senator Ryan Deckert),

Sam Sachs, Sean Cruz, Sabina Shaughnessy (staff for Senator Avel Gordly),

Representative Paul Holvey,

Senator Gordly

Shawn Miller

Attorney General Hardy Myers










Sunday, June 24, 2007

Oregon Governor Kulongoski to sign bills reining in predatory patrol towing

On Monday, June 25, Governor Ted Kulongoski will sign Senate Bill 116 and Senate Bill 431 into law in his ceremonial office.

Both bills passed the House and Senate on votes that were unanimous, enthusiastic, and even gleeful.

Patrol towers, we learned, are pariahs even in their own industry.

Most towers “just say no” to patrol towing, but the few that do engage in the practice have built a business model in Oregon that is flatly illegal in other states, including California and Washington.

In the absence of regulations, Oregon patrol towers allied themselves with some property owners to create what in effect are private fiefdoms, where tow truck drivers working on commission make all of the judgment calls, where the towing companies have the power to impound vehicles, levy charges against those vehicles and assess their value at auction, and where absentee landlords refuse to accept responsibility for the wrongful practices, outrageous pricing and thuglike behavior that they permit their towing contractors to engage in on their private property.

Change is gonna come; in fact, change is HERE!

One of the key indicators of the changes on their way will be watching the numbers drop at Hacienda CDC’s properties in NE Portland.

Over the past two years, Hacienda’s patrol towers racked up more than 300 tows from their 328 or so apartment units alone, a staggering number compared to other apartment complexes in the same neighborhoods.

Hacienda CDC’s leadership continues to claim that they know nothing about the actions of “an independent entity’s towing” practices on Hacienda’s properties, and wouldn’t be responsible even if they did know. And they sure don’t want to know.

This adds up to negligence in my book.

More on this later.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Oregon State Senator Avel Gordly Speaks Out on Immigration!

June 15, 2007

From the Office of Senator Avel Gordly

Contact: Sean Cruz, Chief of Staff (503) 986-1723 or reply to this email


“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.

Constituent responses to Immigration statement


My office has received numerous responses to my previous statement in support of Mayor Tom Potter on the recent immigration raid in North Portland, both pro and con.

Many of those who wrote in opposition made exaggerated or erroneous claims, including lumping the lettuce choppers arrested in North Portland with the terrorists who hijacked airliners on September 11 and turned them into bombs.

Others did not understand that both Mayor Potter and I spoke against the misallocation of limited and costly law enforcement resources to make wholesale arrests of people trying to survive at the bottom of the wage-earning ladder instead of focusing on the hard-core criminal elements that pose real risks to public safety.

Many of the negative comments my office has received could have been (and were) used in previous anti-immigrant and race-based campaigns against Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, African and other populations.

The same level of hate has been leveled against African Americans since the founding of the nation, regardless of citizenship and the fact that they were brought here against their will and in chains, and against Native Americans, who have suffered loss and marginalization without cessation throughout our history.

It is a legacy of shame, and its inheritors are among us still.

Perhaps the saddest part of the hostile comments is the lack of compassion these writers feel for the poor among us, for what we are experiencing as an evolving nation is the migration of the poor.

Who among us would not migrate if we had to, in order to support our families, in order to survive? These are human beings, and they deserve a solution grounded in compassion.

–Senator Avel Gordly June 15, 2007


Comments from constituents in support of the statement regarding the immigration raids include the following:

I totally agree, thank you. Terry F.

Thank you for your support. Veronica B.

This is an excellent statement. Thank you. Judy C.

You go, Avel! Thank you! Your statement was brave and eloquent, and, as I hope you know, you spoke for so many of us. - Virginia

Dear Senator Gordly, I was sickened by the immigration raid, but I must say, it fanned the fires in me to be even more supportive of hard working immigrants, legal or not. I tried to express exactly what you expressed below, just this morning, to my family, who whole-heartedly agree with me. I want to thank you for having the courage to take a direct stand on this issue, as you have for so many divisive issues. Have you thought about running for President? {{:-} Casey M.

I thank you for joining with Mayor Potter to denounce this event. Yolanda

Dear Avel, Good for you. Thanks so much for breathing some sanity into the immigration discussion. I also was outraged by the raids. What a sickening use of our tax money. Thanks for speaking out. It's an honor to have you as my state senator. Best, Bill
Senator Gordly, Thank you for the email. Thank you for caring about things that matter. It is unfortunate our tax payer dollars are distributed in such a wasteful manner. I grieve for the families that are being torn apart just because they want to work to make a better life for themselves and their families. Since our health care is suffering from such a shortage, I wish there was a way to train those who desire to work to take care of the health needs of others. Those who show mercy will receive mercy. Mo

Senator Gordly: Thank you for your email and the support you have given to Mayor Potter. I applaud you both for your strong statements in the face of misguided federal actions that echo the senseless, unkind, negative behavior we see here at home and in foreign countries. This is no way for America to be the leader it can be. Respectful behavior earns respect, and at this point, America is not gaining respect here or abroad by its actions. Thank you again for your good work in many areas. Peace for us ALL! Kirk

Thank you for your statement on the atrocities of the Federal Government's actions towards America's immigrant workers. While hearing on the radio about what happened yesterday, I thought, first off about how I had just listened to a farmer talk about the extreme need for agriculture workers. Then when I heard about how they took the people they arrested to holding cells up in Washington, my thoughts turned to what message our country really is sending to the world. I think it's proof that we really haven't advanced ourselves as intelligent, caring people. What's really behind all the bully tactics and hate propaganda towards people who have not committed any real crimes - they're just working hard to try and survive in this very messed up world? Bev and Paul

Dear Senator Gordly, Thank you for your very courageous public stance on the very contentious issue of immigration. The irony is that our laws are now written in such a way that there is no legal way for the foreign workers on which the U.S. economy depends for agriculture, construction, and the hospitality industry to immigrate to the U.S. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, hordes of immigrants arrived here by boat and were welcomed to our shores without having to pay hefty fees or endure a years long visa application process. Now we have laws which would have made most of our forebears illegal immigrants. It is imperative that we create rational legislation which provides a legal route for our workforce to enter this country and work here. I also do not agree that all undocumented immigrants are underpaid and are driving down wages for Americans since most are working in jobs which Americans will not take at any wage. How many Americans apply for field jobs to harvest our nation's produce? Immigration raids are simply an attempt to demonstrate that the federal government is doing something about illegal immigration, although the raids are cruel to the individuals who are taken away from their jobs and their families. You are absolutely correct that the victims are not criminals but only poor people who are desperate to work in order to survive. Thank you so much for you humanitarian stance, Ronni

I support your ideas on this...thank you. Lisa

I absolutely agree!! One more indication that this administration is dysfunctional in each and every enterprise/issue it supports by implementing policy selectively and SO BADLY! Dottie

SENATOR GORDLY: THANK YOU FOR YOUR STATEMENT. I THINK WE TEND TO FORGET THAT FOR MANY OF US----OUR GRANDPARENTS AND GREAT GRANDPARENTS WERE IMMIGRANTS THEMSELVES; THAT WE OURSELVES HAVE AN IMMIGRANT BACKGROUNDS. IT IS TRUE THAT THE IMMIGRANT POPULATION WHETHER LEGAL OR ILLEGAL CAN PUT A STRAIN ON OUR RESOURCES BUT WE MUST REMEMBER TWO THINGS CONCERNING THAT PROBLEM----#1 BEING THAT THESE PEOPLES SEEK A BETTER LIFE FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILIES AND TO THEM THAT MEANS AMERICA. AND #2 THAT IF WE WORK TO ESTABLISH A BETTER PROCESS IN HELPING THESE PEOPLE----THEY WILL SOON BE CONTRIBUTING TO OUR RESOURCES NOT PUTTING A STRAIN ON THEM. CONNIE

Senator Gordly, I agree. This is a political stunt conducted through a federal organization that has more important matters to deal with. The immigration issue is complex and is not confined to the USA. Many countries have to deal with this and I’ve read a little about Hong Kong’s struggle with illegal immigrants from mainland China. It is a difficult subject. We have a lot of people that are too black & white about this putting political pressure that results in this nonsense. A raid like this doesn’t solve anything. It is small-minded and divisive. A little common sense, less black & white thinking, and an understanding of the complexity is in order. SB
YES! I appreciate your position. Yet another demonstration of wasting precious resources under the misdirection of President Bush's inept administration. Patricia

Thank you for speaking out! Diane
Senator, it is clear to me that American Staffing hired undocumented workers because the chances of such an worker to stand up for their basic human rights and for safe and fair working conditions are slim. What undocumented worker would put themselves and their families out on the radar by filing a complaint with the appropriate authorities? This is a larger issue of immigration raiding one factory. It is an issue of creating a slave class of immigrant workers that is repeatedly abused on a grand scale.

I wholeheartedly disagree with the raid that happened yesterday. The employees at the Del Monte plant have been abused more than enough by their work conditions and it is an even greater injustice that their suffering has been "repaid" by the American Government with arrests, separating families, and putting even more fear into their hearts.

This is not the America my family brought me to. This is a story about people that suffer injustices in the workplace that we hear about in third world countries, not in our own backyards. But their voices will never be heard because they are "illegal" human beings. This is the time to let it be known just how much an undocumented worker suffers to put food on our tables. Respectfully, XQ

Sen. Gordly: You can count me as a constituent in support of your position on the immigration raids. Matthew

BRAVO! –Sue

Dear Senator Gordly: I whole-heartedly agree with your and Mayor Potter's statements re the INS raids in Portland. Mike K.

I am in full support of your words Senator. You have my full support. Christiane F.

Thank you! Luis M.

Thank you, very well put! Avi

I also join the Senator & Mayor's viewpoint on the immigration raid. I see this as a huge injustice to the workers and their families. Our government needs to listen to its people, and treat all human beings humanely and fairly. The result of the raid is sure to upheave many hundreds of families that deserve the basic right to work and live in our country. Let us not forget what our great country is based on, Freedom for all.

“Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
----Peace, Tobi R.

Thank you for your position on the immigration raids, they are the victims not the problems. Phyllis R.

Thank you, Senator Gordly, for a reasoned and compassionate response. We really appreciate all that you do. Sincerely, Janet and Forrest

Thank you for taking a stand and speaking out against the raid on fresh dell Monte. Our federal dollars should be spent bringing down the true crime rate, not harassing hardworking people, however they got to this country.—

Thank you! I couldn’t agree more! Chris B.

I agree with you Senator Gordly and with the mayor. Right on!! Carol D.

Many, Many thanks to both you and Mayor Potter for speaking out concerning the recent "raid". It is saddening, done with real disregard for the situation as it is with immigrants, legal and otherwise. Our hearts go out to all -- yes, sorrow too for the Federal agencies direction to perform such an act. Elizabeth H.

Thank you for your leadership on this issue. It isn’t that long ago that my family moved here – two generations. I am thankful they did not encounter this kind of behavior. Wendy

Yes! Thank you for your statements. This is not the America I always imagined it to be. I too will work toward the priority of honoring human dignity. Karin F.

Thanks to Senator Gordly for taking a strong stand. What a devastating tragedy for so many families. It makes me really angry that we haven't figured out how to intervene effectively. Thanks again. Margaret B.

Dear Sen. Gordly, I am moved and so proud to at least live in a state with a representative such as you, unafraid to speak out and to do so articulately, pointedly and compassionately. Thank you for including Mayor Potter's statement in your welcome and much appreciated email message. Not a Portland resident, I have literally been "on the fence" in my opinion of Mayor Potter. No longer...his courage, understanding and decisive quick reaction in this terrible situation is clearly demonstrated. As a farmer, albeit at the ownership level, I feel the increased chill running through the agricultural community. We have crops to harvest, mortgages to pay, payrolls to meet...without our treasured workers those things won't happen. You and Mayor Potter so keenly point out that these workers are not criminals, they are essential to the food cycle.

A couple of points almost always left out of media and social discussions concerning farm workers:

(1) They DO pay taxes. The little trick of those--even bogus--social security numbers is that they require salary deductions into the Social Security system just like every other US worker. The dirty trick is illegal workers receive no social security benefits; in effect they subsidize Social Security. I'm sure someone has calculated the amount of dollars that annually go into Social Security this way.

It seems a media given that this class of workers are exploited and hired only because they work cheaply. First of all we--and many other farmers--compensate our workers fairly. We provide safe working conditions, clothing, tools and cooperate in an industry backed program providing health care. Secondly, our workers are hired because they are intelligent, conscientious and meticulous in their care of our plants and products, exude work ethic, and are clean, courteous and fun to work with. They appreciate their jobs and we appreciate their skills.

We do our best to assure all of our workers are legal. Nonetheless, it's overlooked that even the immigrants who come into the US illegally are NOT the losers, they are the brave, courageous, strong, smart people who dare to improve their lives and, even more importantly, the lives of their families. When told there are plenty of American workers who will take these difficult jobs, I know the speaker has probably never actually labored a full day and knows nothing of farming.

I am acquainted with many of the families--loving, caring, responsible families. And here are our officials being the bullies, attacking the weak, spreading fear...suppose that's the purpose!

Thank you so much for standing up and using your position to speak out. I will be sending your statements to others probably not on your mailing list. Sincerely, Nancy

Dear Sen. Gordly, Thank you for speaking out. This is an inhumane way to tackle the immigration problems in the U.S. I agree that people working to improve their lives are not criminals. There must be a better way to allow people to work legally who are here now. Certainly, hard workers, such as these, could earn their right to work here. I think of all of the immigrants in my family from Germany, Norway, Holland, England, Ireland and France. They had their chance, now it is time for us to give that chance to others. Sincerely, Jeanne R.

Dear Senator Gordly I agree with you on this issue. Please continue to speak out on this matter. My tenant, Rafaela, was taken in yesterdays raid. She is illegal. She has been here for 19 years. She has a clean record. She also has two children, a boy 8 and a girl 13, who came home from school yesterday to find her gone. She is a single parent. Her daughter would not stop crying. Thankfully Rafaela was released last night and allowed to return to her children. She returned to Immigration today to have a ankle bracelet put on her person. Some told her to run, to move, to hide. She said she would not do that. She will comply, seek legal advice and see where things go from there. This is the human side of yesterday’s raid. I am sure you have heard other stories. This woman is not on welfare, nor food stamps. She is not taking from our social services. She is hard working and a very good mother. Of course, rumors are flying about in the Hispanic community about other impending raids. Fear abounds. Hopefully Congress will act, and act soon. Frankly, the sentiments against this community scare me. Once again thank you for your support. Kind Regards Chris M.

hi avel: I am so glad you wrote this statement to support mayor potter. thanks, -nana

I agree! Thank you so much for taking a stand. Pam M

Avel, Thank you, thank you, thank you for speaking up about this----it is so shameful what was done to people just trying to work and support their families. I was HORRIFIED when I saw it on the news. Deborah C.

Thank you for speaking out! Richard G.

Yay, both of you! I think both you and Mayor Potter are doing exactly the right thing by speaking forcefully. I hope you both follow through to find a way to force the Federal government to STOP this harassment. This is extremely frightening! First the immigrants, then the mentally ill, then the Jews....My first husband was a Jew. His father fled Tzarist Russia with the family when he (the father) was two years old. My husband said that his father only remembed one thing about life in the Russian ghetto -- that one night late, the Cossacks broke down the door, grabbed his uncle, threw him up against the wall, and shot him.

There is not a whole lot of difference between that experience, and what has happened here in Portland! In both cases, minority persons have been seized by government forces! When people tell me that Bush has only so many [number] days left in office, I say, "You don't know WHAT he'll do." Marian D

Right on! Joe

I totally agree with both statements, the people working in the plant were at least workingand trying to support themselves and their families - leave them alone - go after the criminals, ones who have already been convicted and ones who are yet to be caught - and, get out of IRAQ!!!!!!! Jeanne

Senator Gordly, Thank you for voicing your outrage about what is happening to all of these hard working members of our community, our nation is a land of immigrants, what these famillies are experiencing is not right, these scary tactics are not acceptable and are only creating incredible mental anguish and chaos to these honest, hard working individuals. Please do everything that it is in your power to stop this from continuing, this is not right Senator Gordly, this is hard to see and tolerate. Sincerely, Leda

Yes! My sentiments exactly! Not using Portland Police resources in an immigration raid is a sensible approach to this major issue in all our communities. Thank you, Mayor Potter, and Senator Gordly, also. As a community leader in Rockwood, West Gresham (a multi-cultural, low-income community), we cope locally as best we can with the issues resulting from the lack of leadership in our National Congress, in particular, and also need state legislative leadership from all 50 states to support good public policy - policy that recognizes the realities of work needs (now and, especially, in the very near future).

The challenges these families face in being separated from their extended families, the impending "baby-boomer" retirement tsunami, medical needs of the immigrant population... The answer is well thought-out immigration policies, not wasting our limited law enforcement resources. The policies worked out in the 1986 Amnesty Bill are still applicable, why are we wasting time reinventing the wheel? Who (or which financial institutions/businesses are benefiting from the current chaotic policies?) - it is always a case of "follow the money". Kathie M.

I endorse both statements WITHOUT RESERVATION! Brad

Sen. Gordly: Thank you so much for speaking out about this outrage. Karen O

Thank you for this statement! I couldn't agree more! I am sickened by how our government treats poor people, who should not be condemned for doing what they can to feed their families. What real options do they have? They should not be treated like criminals! I have lived and worked among the very poorest people in Mexico and Latin America. I have friends and family members, including my husband and some of my own European ancestors, who have fled their homelands due to crushing poverty and brutal wars. I believe that no one who understands what life is like under these conditions, conditions which the rich and powerful in our country have helped create, would ever tolerate such inhumane treatment of fellow human beings. Thank you for speaking out. Best, Lucy B.

Well said Sen. Gordly! from Russ D.

Thank you, Senator Gordly, for speaking out on this. I agree with you wholeheartedly!
Marcia N.

Senator, Thank you. We need this logic on the other side of the aisle. Jim A.

Thank you senator for your prophetic words and honoring the legacy of St ML King. I am PROUD of you. You have my FULL support. Thanks for being my Senator, m

Thank you. I was just watching a documentary about the garbage workers strike in Memphis, 1968. The difference between the white and black positions came down to whether the fact that the strike was illegal negated all the other underlying issues. Kathleen M.

Sen. Gordly- Thanks for speaking out about the Del Monte raids. I agree that hard-working people just trying to support their families are not criminals. I also think that the anti-immigrant fervor distracts from real issues--like the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer through tax breaks for those rich people and we are fighting an insane war in Iraq and lining the pockets of corporations like Halliburton. Anne T.

Thank you Senator Gordly. You are a wonderful woman. IRMA V.

Dear Sen. Gordly, You and Tom Potter are right on. Blessings, Frodo

I fully support both yours and Mayor Potter's position on the raids. This country strayed from justice the day it began singling out a certain race, type of crime, gender or age of suspects for "special" or "enhanced" prosecution. We look like a country full of indecisive bullies to the rest of the world, I'm sure.Ann L.

Well done! I commend Senator Gordly and Mayor Potter! Sincerely, MFB.

Right on! I'm glad there are a FEW sensible people left in government.

Thank you Senator Gordly for your voice on this issue. Kathleen S.

Thank you so much for your strong stand about the terrible injustice on the workers at the Del Monte plant. These are hard working people who we need to respect and advocate for and again thank you for all your efforts in the arena. Cathy

Hi Avel. Thanks for keeping us informed about what is transpiring in Salem. Hope you are well. I totally agree with yours and Mayor Potter's position. This focus on immigration issues seems to have gotten totally out of hand since 911. There seems to be no division of concern on the part of government between illegals who are here to do bad things and the immigrants who are here to do the minimum wage jobs to earn a living that most Americans aren't willing to do anymore. Hope to see you soon. Jeana W.

Senator: Thank you for your support in this horrific situation. To leave one’s home, family and all things familiar in order to labor under such atrocious working conditions in a foreign country is sad enough. But to now be tracked down at work and at home, accosted, and incarcerated simply because one chooses to work is beyond the pale. Thank you for your voice of protest. Jerry

Dear Senator Gordly, Thank you so much for your powerful statement in opposition to the immigrant raids. Your words were incredible and demonstrated a commitment to justice and dignity that is often lacking in our public officials. As someone who deeply cares about our very flawed and inhumane treatment of immigrants in the United States it is so amazing to hear someone else willing to step up and show support for humanity. Thank you. Sincerely, Lynne

Dear Senator, Though I am not a constituent of yours, I want to express my thanks and gratitude for your strong response to arrests Tuesday (6/12) by immigration & customs enforcement officers. I appreciate your strong words and leadership on this issue and I will continue to show my support for comprehensive immigration reform and your efforts! Best, Katie

THANK YOU FOR SPEAKING OUT AND SUPPORTING THESE WORKERS (otherwise known as human beings, trying to make a viable life for themselves). When I cannot find time to keep up with everything and get the news abou these kinds of events in a timely way, I know I can count on you to speak for me and be heard in a way I could not! There are many, many silent people who I know support the right of any person form any country to come to theis country and make and honest living and raise their children. I ask of the opposition; "WHAT WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO DO TO FIND INCOME AND FOOD AND SHELTER FOR YOUR SELF AND YOUR WIFE AND CHILDREN?" If the answer isn't, "Anything.", then I can understand why you carry so much hate and resentment. You have never known hunger, desperation and no way out. We must remember WHY people travel to where the work is. To LIVE! Ask, "What would YOU do to live??" Much gratitude, Mary C.

Senator Gordly, Thank you for being a champion on this issue. It is imperative that this side be voiced by authority figures in power to remind people that they are not hated by all in this silent war against immigrants. Statements like yours help balance out the venomous things we hear from non-supporters. Thank you, Tess W.

Senator Gordly - I strongly agree with the sentiment expressed by you and Mayor Potter. The toughest issues and their solutions seem to be too difficult for our U.S. Congress to handle. Bob K.

Sen. Gordly, Thank you for speaking out against the travesty of justice that is the current federal immigration policy. Raids to round up poor Latinos whose only crime is that they want to sort lettuce do not accomplish anything to enhance the security of our country. This must change. Sincerely, JJ

Your comments re: the Portland raid is the best I have read on this outrageous practice of the federal government. Thank you for having the courage to speak out. Beverly

What a wonderful statement you have made in support of immigrants' rights and humanity. Thank you so much for showing compassion to a group which many politicians attack for political gain. Your words and actions on Tuesday restored my faith in politicians. Erika

Senator Gordly, Though I am not in your constituency, I would like to say thank you for your stance on the recent raids in Oregon. We need leaders like you in Colorado, who represent their entire communities and not just a small angry bunch. Again, Thank YOU. Susana

Thank you for recognizing the truth. I stand behind your outrage and support you. No crime is committed when simply working hard trying to feed your children. Theresa E.
Thank you. I did not hear about our states support of this on the news last night. I agree with you and our Mayor. Roberta G.


I totally agree with what you both said in your statements about the immigration raid. We were equally outraged with the raid at Swift & Co. in Greeley, Colorado. The inhuman treatment of these people reminds many of us of the treatment of people in a dictator run country. Thank you for your badly needed statements. Please let Mayor Tom Potter know of our support. Lee S

Dear Senator Gordly, I would like to say thank you very much for the support you are giving to the Latino community. It’s very inspirational. Sincerely SW

Dear Senator Gordly, Thank you for your leadership in standing up and voicing your disapproval of the human injustice brought against workers who only wish is to support their families and give their children a better future. You leadership, representation and recognition of the many contributions of immigrants to our country is greatly appreciated. It is a shame that our President and Congress are willing to destroy the lives of our young men and women, to bring justice and hope to those who hate us and do not care for us in the Middle East, and at the same time show little mercy or concern for immigrant individuals and families, who are our friends and neighbors, and who are in the US seeking to feed, cloth and support their families.

“The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)
God is concerned for the migrant and the outcast. The early Hebrews were “strangers in the land of Egypt” and were asked to remember this heritage by protecting the strangers among them in the Promised Land. Similarly, throughout the New Testament, Christians are called to care for the outcast and the stranger. Immigration is also inextricably related to issues of poverty and economic justice. Immigrants—both legal and undocumented—are more likely to live in families with incomes below the poverty level, and children of undocumented immigrants are especially at risk. Blessings, Robert
Thank you for your thoughtful and passionate stand AGAINST the raid on low-paid workers here in our city. We are proud to have you represent us. Betsy Z

Dear Honorable Senator Gordly, I applaud your position and agree wholeheartedly. I don't recognize the America that has become so mean, heartless, and without compassion. Thank you!! Sincerely yours, Donna N.

I agree! Thank you for speaking out against the immigration raid in Portland. Larisa

I support Sen. Gordly and our Mayor's concerns and objections to ICE's actions against the undocumented workers. From the news reports, I believe the actions and conditions of the Del Monte employer workplace and the employment agents do deserve rigorous enforcement actions and substantial penalties, but the workers themselves deserve our help and support and not penalties, especially penalties which separate families. –Al S.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU. Your courage and honesty are deeply appreciated. My family and most of my neighbors agree with your 'statement' 100%.
Sincerely, DC

Senator Gordly, I totally agree that those working in the packing plant are not likely to be criminals. We need to find a way to make sure these folks and others who want to work in the US have the opportunity to do so. My concern however, is that by encouraging the formalization of an 'illegal' workforce, we are assuring that those workers are underpaid and more than likely taken advantage of. They have no legal recourse and thus are held hostage to large corporations and even small farmers who use them for picking vegetables and fruits. The arguments in Congress over immigration seem to be getting nowhere, thanks to the Republicans. I don't have a solution to the problem. It seems even the President can't convince his own party to vote for reform.
My concern as the argument continues, is that the Latino community in particular is being stereotyped while others who may pose a 'real threat' get VISA's and enter the US legally. Again it is the poor who suffer the consequences. Rebecca L.

I absolutely agree, thank you for standing up for them. Jodi S.


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NOTE regarding reproduction and distribution of Senator Gordly’s newsletters:

Senator Gordly’s newsletters are public property. There are no restrictions on copying or distributing these newsletters. Each newsletter is also posted to Senator Gordly’s legislative website at www.leg.state.or.us/gordly and all information on that website is also public property. There are no restrictions on downloading, copying or distributing this information.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Oregon House pummels predatory towers again!

The Oregon House voted unanimously to clamp down on predatory towing companies for the second consecutive day today.

Senate Bill 431 was carried by Representative Donna Nelson (R-McMinnville) with enthusiasm, and the entire House responded in kind.

Last Friday, the House voted unanimously to pass Senate Bill 116, the other towing reform bill to emerge from this landmark legislative session.

Senate Bill 431 provides important protections to renters and restricts the circumstances under which towers can legally remove vehicles from private property without notice to the vehicle owner.

Both Senate bills (116 and 431) passed each chamber on unanimous votes, a result probably unequaled among legislation that creates and implements broad regulation across a powerful industry.

The unanimous votes speak for themselves.

This legislation is the death knell for vehicle harvesting operations such as that which occurs in Hacienda CDC’s apartment properties in NE Portland.

Hacienda maintains about 325 units of affordable housing in NE Portland. Those 325 units racked up 155 tows in 2006 alone for Hacienda’s contract towers.

When you calculate the cost of recovering your car, the units probably aren’t as affordable as one would think.

Meanwhile, Hacienda CDC staff remains hunkered in their bunker on NE 42nd street, using a stretch of the public right of way as their own private parking area, complete with phony towaway-zone signs (see earlier posting).

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Oregon House hammers predatory towers

Representative Larry Galizio (D-Tigard) carried Senate Bill 116 to a 54-0 unanimous vote in the Oregon House of Representatives yesterday, bringing sweeping regulation to the towing industry for the first time in state history.

SB 116 now goes to Governor Ted Kulongoski for signature into law, having earlier passed the Senate on a 30-0 unanimous vote.

The votes indicate the depth of dissatisfaction the public—and the towing industry itself—has with the predatory practices of certain towing companies.

SB 116 even has the support of representatives of the towing industry, many of whom have understandably resented being tarred with the same brush as the predatory towers in the public eye.

Currently, towing companies are unregulated by the state, and the authority of local governments over towing companies is usually limited to a preference list for the use of police departments.

The Department of Justice states that each year they receive numerous complaints about towing companies and their business practices—as do local governments and law enforcement—but have lacked the authority to do anything about it.

Senate Bill 116 addresses a broad range of issues:

1. Clarifies and places into statute the authority the State and local governments have to regulate towing, including involuntary towing and the prices that towers can charge.

2. Authorizes the Attorney General to make and enforce rules.

3. Provides that violations are unlawful trade practices allowing both Attorney General enforcement and the private right of action.

4. Requires compliance with rules, including proof of insurance, to qualify for a Department of Transportation towing business certificate.

5. Prohibits a tower from requiring a vehicle owner to agree not to dispute the reason for the tow, the validity of charges, or the condition of vehicle or personal property in the vehicle in order to regain the vehicle from the tower.

6. Requires tow truck drivers to provide printed rate sheets to vehicle owners and prohibits charging more than the price disclosed.

7. Prohibits soliciting towing within 1,000 feet of an accident unless pursuant to a pre-negotiated payment agreement between the tower and a motor vehicle road service company.

8. Prohibits a tower from parking within 1,000 feet of a property for purposes of monitoring facility for towing business unless signs are posted at each entrance.

9. Prohibits a tower from paying the owner of parking facility for the privilege of towing.

10. Requires acceptance of cash as payment only if exact change is given to the vehicle owner by the following day (some drivers have refused to give change).

Senate Bill 116 also requires notice if the owner of parking facility hires a tower, prohibits towing without the required notice, and specifies certain hours of redemption.


COMING SOON:

Senate Bill 431, addressing predatory patrol towing practices, will be on the House floor in the coming week, completing the Legislature’s work on towing in this landmark 2007 session.

Patrol towing is illegal in many other states, including California and Washington.

Predatory patrol towing practices arise as a consequence of arrangements some property owners make with certain towing companies.

These property owners allow the towers to make on-the-spot judgment calls and charge the vehicle owners whatever they want to charge.

The tow truck drivers making the judgement calls are paid on commission. The trucks they drive are designed to grab a vehicle and be gone in seconds, before the vehicle owner returns. Is that a recipe for towjacking or what?

Once in control of the vehicle, the tow company controls it all the way to the auction yard, including the amount of ransom demanded at every stage, with the clock ticking in their favor.

When they are not snagging vehicles and running, these drivers are patrolling around, burning up fuel.

That is all going to change, with SB 116 and SB 431 about to make their way to your neighborhood soon. More on this later, to be sure.