Hill to Hall September 24–26

Sept. 24: U.S. House of Representatives initiates impeachment inquiry against president

United States Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump amid allegations of corruption following a July phone call with the president of Ukraine. The conversation—in which Trump allegedly pressured the Ukrainian president into opening a corruption investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden—occurred a few days after Trump withheld $391 million in military aid from Ukraine. The inquiry also follows the report of a whistleblower stating “urgent concern” that the president was soliciting interference from a foreign country, and the actions constitute an “abuse of executive order.” 


Sept. 24: Protesters stage 60-hour vigil outside of Portland energy company 

Protesters gathered outside of Zenith Energy Terminal in Northwest Portland after presenting a petition with over 7,000 signatures to Mayor Ted Wheeler demanding the city to stop Zenith Energy from using Portland as a “transport hub” for crude oil. The rail cars use the Columbia River Gorge to transport the oil, raising concern from protesters about the impact of potential derailments on the environment. According to The Oregonian, the anti-oil activists at the vigil—hosted by the Stop Zenith Collaborative and 350PDX—counted the number of rail cars containing crude oil to compile data and raise awareness on the transportation of crude oil in Oregon. 


Sept. 25: Portland Police terminate ICE agent training at PPB facilities 

Portland Police terminated a two-year contract with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement  after the Portland Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America brought complaints to Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty regarding the potential violations of Portland’s sanctuary city status. Before the termination of the contract, ICE used the PPB’s Training Division facility, which is currently leased out to over 30 different agencies for training purposes. According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations branch will still be able to use the facility, as the branch does not enforce immigration law and therefore does not risk violating the city’s sanctuary status.


Sept. 26: U.S. State Department announces large reduction to 2020 migrant cap 

During the next 12 months, the United States State Department will accept 18,000 refugees—down 40% from the current cap of 30,000—into the country. According to Reuters, a senior administration in the Trump administration said refugee arrivals are currently suspended until Oct. 22, causing a week-long halt of incoming flights. Trump also signed an executive order limiting the places where refugees can be resettled, making it necessary for state and local governments to give written consent in order to accept refugees.