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Hill to Hall May 3-7

May 3: Former Oregon State lawmaker cited in sex trafficking ring


Clackamas Community College board member and former Oregon State Speaker of the House of Representatives Dave Hunt has been cited by the Portland Police Bureau in an undercover sex traffic sting operation that took place in April, according to a PPB press release. “The subjects who contacted undercover police officers to arrange payment for sexual acts were criminally cited on the charge of Commercial Sexual Solicitation,” the announcement from PPB stated. Hunt’s legal representative, Michael De Munis, said that Hunt is innocent. While a legislator, Hunt was one of many sponsors of the bill which criminalized sex trafficking in 2007. In 2011, he similarly voted for H.B. 2714. That bill created the crime of “commercial sexual solicitation,” which is what Hunt was arrested for, according to a Portland Tribune report.



May 4: Lawmakers in Oregon make it easier to create houseless shelters


The Oregon State Legislature has approved a resolution that makes it easier to create a houseless shelter throughout the state of Oregon. In a 26-1 vote, the Oregon Senate passed H.B. 2006 on May 3. The bill requires some municipalities to support planned houseless shelters if certain criteria is met. On average, more than 10,000 Oregonians do not have permanent housing on any given night, which is a nearly 40% increase from six years ago, according to Oregon State’s Office of Policy Development and Research. The lowered threshold for homeless shelters will regress on July 1, 2022. H.B. 2006 also makes it simpler for cities to “approve parking lots where people can sleep in their cars as a form of transitional housing and creates grant funding opportunities for organizations that want to create shelters,” according to an OPB report.



May 5: Political coalition seeks to end Oregon State Republican Walkouts


A Democrat-funded faction created to push back versus obstruction tactics used by Republican lawmakers says it means to end the GOP practice, an OPB article stated. In a press conference on May 6, the No More Costly Walkouts Coalition revealed eight legislative initiative petitions which attempt to penalize lawmakers who leave the Capitol during session. “Oregon deserves better than lawmakers who walk off the job, or keep others from working,” stated Reed Scott-Schwalbach, vice president of the Oregon Education Association, in an OPB report.



May 7: U.S. DOJ says PPB violated constitution, settlement


The Department of Justice has issued a reprimand of the PPB for its use of violent tactics against protesters and journalists in 2020. The DOJ’s rebuke noted U.S. Constitutional violations as well as PPB policy violations and criticizes leadership—Mayor Ted Wheeler is in charge of police in Portland—for seeing “all force as justified.” Portland police used force like tear gas, rubber bullets and baton-striking in excess of 6,000 times in 2020, a PPB third-quarter police violence report stated. The city’s official response states the federal government bears responsibility for the violence as well. However, the PPB has been under federal supervision since 2012, in a legal agreement settling DOJ findings that the “PPB engaged in a pattern or practice of unnecessary or unreasonable force.”