Leaders and supporters of Umatilla County’s Hispanic community stood firm against ending Oregon’s sanctuary state status.
Roughly 100 people participated Saturday at McKenzie Park, Hermiston, in a rally urging locals to vote no on Ballot Measure 105. Organizers said they put the word out starting last weekend. The event drew a few local elected leaders, including Hermiston City Councilor Lori Davis. Her challenger in this election, Mark Gomolski, who serves on Hermiston’s Hispanic Advisory Committee, was not present.
The organizers also pulled in Jamie McLeod-Skinner, the Democrat challenging incumbent Republican Greg Walden to be the next U.S. representative for Oregon’s Congressional 2nd District.
Zaira Sanchez of Hermiston began the rally with a moment of silence to recognize the victims in Saturday’s mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. The shooting was an act of xenophobia, she said, which goes hand-in-hand with the reason for the rally.
Hermiston City Councilor Roy Barron said the ballot measure stemmed from the federal government’s failure to address immigration reform. The measure forces Oregonians to “pick and choose sides” based on race, he said.
Hermiston grade-school teacher Delta Colbray said she was not well versed on Measure 105 but it “will hurt my students,” allow police to racially profile and cause dissent between communities of color and law enforcement. She said she has seen students tell other students “they will be sent back.”
But “back to where?” Colbray continued. “They were born here.”
McLeod-Skinner told the crowd elections carry consequences, and Measure 105’s consequences are bad for Oregon.
“Measure 105 allows the focus not to be on someone’s behavior,” she said, “but on someone’s skin color.”
The rally ended with many in the crowd grabbing hand-painted anti-105 signs and displaying those to the passing traffic on nearby Highway 395. Drivers aplenty honked to show support for the rally.