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Jeff Goldberg of Roseburg, left, speaks with Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin during a Coffee with a Cop event in Roseburg in 2017.

Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin is one of 16 sheriffs in the state to voice support for a ballot measure that would repeal Oregon’s sanctuary law.

Measure 105 aims to repeal a 31-year-old Oregon law that forbids state agencies from using state resources or personnel to detect or apprehend people whose only crime is being in the country illegally.

Sheriffs from Gilliam, Harney, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Malheur, Curry, Coos, Klamath, Union, Grant, Lake, Wheeler, Deschutes and Douglas counties endorsed the letter penned by Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin.

The combined populations of the counties represented are slightly larger than that of Portland’s.

“The statute undermines respect for the law in significant ways. It tells illegal immigrants that Oregon considers immigration-law violations so inconsequential as to be unworthy of police and sheriffs’ attention. In doing so, it legitimizes those violations and encourages more,” Bergin wrote.

The letter also referenced Mollie Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student that was allegedly killed by an undocumented immigrant living in Iowa. Her death became politicized and reignited the debate over immigration policy.

Mollie Tibbets’ father, Rob Tibbetts, has not publicly commented on the issue, but in his eulogy, he highlighted how the local Hispanic community had embraced him as he searched for his daughter in recent weeks, reported the Des Moines Register.

“The Hispanic community are Iowans. They have the same values as Iowans,” he said, including an emphasis on family. “As far as I’m concerned, they’re Iowans with better food,” the paper reported.

Bergin wrote that Tibbetts’ murder “has refocused our attention on the violence and heartbreak illegal-immigrant criminals can visit on Americans and their families.”

Bergin also contested the assertion by opponents of the measure that its passing would promote racial profiling.

Measure 105 made the November ballot last month and is primarily funded through the Repeal Oregon Sanctuary Law Committee, which has raised more than $330,000.

Also backing the measure is a group called Oregonians for Immigration Reform, an organization classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In July, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions inferred that groups like the SPLC use hate group designations to bully and intimidate conservative groups.

The lead opposition group against Measure 105, called Oregonians United Against Profiling, has been endorsed by several large businesses and organizations like Nike, Columbia Sportswear Company and the American Civil Liberties Union, according to the organization’s website.

Multiple sheriffs and district attorneys have also come out against the measure, including the Multnomah County sheriff and district attorney, Washington County’s sheriff and district attorney, the Benton County district attorney, the Deschutes County district attorney and the Columbia County district attorney.

Hanlin, and Brad O’Dell, the sheriff’s spokesman, were not immediately available for comment.

In January, Hanlin spoke to county commissioners after President Donald Trump’s Jan. 25 executive orders on immigration, which called for 10,000 new immigration enforcement officers, increased deportations and punishment for sanctuary cities by withholding federal grants.

At that time, Hanlin said the president’s order wouldn’t create any immediate local policy changes, since the president’s order only binds federal agencies.

In 2014, a measure that would have allowed undocumented immigrants in Oregon to acquire driver’s licenses was rejected by voters, with 66 percent voting against it.

Saphara Harrell can be reached at 541-957-4216 or sharrell@nrtoday.com. Or on Twitter


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Crime and Natural Resources Reporter

Saphara Harrell is the crime and natural resources reporter for The News-Review. She previously worked at The World in Coos Bay. Follow her on Twitter @daisysaphara.

(8) comments


It might also be noted that not every single person voting in the Portland area would be against the removal of the law.


The Southern Poverty Law Center a once reputable civil rights organization has morphed into a fund gathering slander factory that labels anyone who opposes them as SWP sympathizers, etc They're being sued FINALLY for their cancerous tagging of people without the slightest hint of proof, and LOSING! I would discount ANYTHING coming out of their camp.


Anyone else hear stories about bus loads of transient/illegals being brought to Roseburg? Stories indicate that they arrive in the early morning so as to not be observed. San Francisco buses some of their homeless to...Portland. It's called the "Homeless Bus Relocation Program."


In your article you state that the sheriffs from 14 rural counties (including Clatsop) signed on to a letter written by the sheriff in Clatsop County. You go on to state that the population of these 14 counties is "slightly larger than that of Portland's". A thoughtful reader can assume your implied inference, but I'm having trouble following your math. According to the US census bureau, the population of the city of Portland (nevermind the surrounding suburbs) was estimated to be 584K (and estimated to be 648K in 2018).* According to the 2010 census, the total population of the 14 counties you name (including Clatsop) was estimated to be 443K**, almost 32% less than the city of Portland. More recent estimates (choose your source) show essentially the same result. I'm not sure what sources you were using, but a 15 minute internet search from my couch on a Monday evening seems to suggest your math is wrong in this article.

* Citation: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/portlandcityoregon/PST045217
** Citation: https://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/cph-2-39.pdf


The Oregonian article states that sheriffs from 16 counties (not 14 as reported by the NR) signed the letter. This MIGHT explain the discrepancy.

Ian Campbell Staff
Ian Campbell

We reported 16, too. It's written in the first sentence.

Ian Campbell Staff
Ian Campbell

We used 2010 Census numbers across the board. Since not all of the counties have reliable 2018 estimates in the Census, it wouldn't be fair to compare Portland's 2018 population to Wheeler's 2010 population.

Using that data set, we came up with a population of 626,188 for the 16 counties and 583,776 for Portland. Which is why we reported that the population of the counties is "slightly larger than that of Prtland's."

Here's the list of populations:
Gilliam: 1,871
Harney: 7,422
Morrow: 11,173
Sherman: 1,765
Umatilla: 75,889
Malheur: 31,313
Curry: 22,364
Coos: 63,043
Klamath: 66,380
Union: 25,748
Grant: 7,445
Lake: 7,895
Wheeler: 1,441
Deschutes: 157,733
Clatsop: 37,039
Douglas: 107,667
Total: 626,188
Portland: 583,776


Thanks for clearing that up.

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