Local leaders tried through various channels to influence the detention of two men arrested by ICE that sparked yesterday’s 10-hour protest about racial injustice.
Central Oregon Daily News spoke with Deschutes County’s DA and a city councilor about their efforts to negotiate with federal police for a peaceful resolution.
It began about noon when word spread that two local men had been taken into custody and placed in unmarked buses.
Within a few hours, a crowd of more than 250 people surrounded the buses preventing them from leaving.
“People were saying ‘do something, do something.’ But first I had to gather facts,” said John Hummel, Deschutes County District Attorney.
Hummel spoke to local police and federal agents to understand it was a federal operation and that local police did not support or collaborate.
In an effort to defuse tensions, he offered to answer protestors’ questions about the charges against the detainees, but ICE refused to share the information.
At that point, Hummel, Bend Mayor Sally Russell, and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown began asking their Homeland Security contacts for help.
“Everyone we spoke to said ‘That decision is being made at a higher level.’ We got very high up in the chain and that person told us ‘Look, the decision is being made at the highest level of government.’ We said how high? They said ‘The highest level of government.’ I took that to mean Chad Wolf, Attorney General Barr and/or president of the United States.”
Today, Brown tweeted she was “appalled by the callous actions of the Trump administration in Bend to target immigrant communities and forcefully disperse a crowd of concerned community members and clergy who, for hours, held the line against injustice.”
Bend City Councilor Barb Campbell took an entirely different approach: She parked her personal vehicle immediately behind one of the ICE buses to prevent it from leaving and joined the protest.
Another city councilor, Gena Goodman-Campbell, shuttled information back and forth between police and protestors in an effort to keep everyone informed.
“I want people to know that their representatives, at least one of them, speaking for myself, that I am here and I understand just how upset people are,” Barb Campbell said.
Today Campbell is getting mixed reactions from constituents on her involvement in the protest.
“Seems to be far more appreciative of my efforts; appreciative that I am out on the streets with the people. There are certainly people who are not happy, telling me they can’t wait until 2022 so they can vote me out,” she said.
Hummel said it became apparent ICE and DHS were not interested in working with state or local officials to try to broker a peaceful resolution to the standoff.
“They wanted a violent response. Their goal was a violent response. Their goal was to send in the federal troops from Seattle and Portland. That was their end game and that is what disgusted me about this.”
Hummel said he’s not received any reports of crimes committed by federal agents or protesters.
He encourages anyone who believes their rights were denied to file a report with local police for review.
For Krystal Loverin, a bilingual legal assistant with the Bend Immigration Group, the protests in Bend yesterday hit close to home.
Her own husband was an undocumented immigrant for 14 years before he became an American citizen.
“My twelve-year-old daughter is Mexican-American,” Loverin said. “Mia and I went down there at 5:30, 5:45.”
Loverin recorded her experiences on Facebook Live.
“The instructions were for everyone to remain calm,” Loverin said. “Sit down, don’t be aggressive, don’t engage. The agents just swarmed in like that. I mean, I turned around one second you didn’t see them and all of a sudden you have a whole line of them in SWAT gear.”
Loverin said she was sprayed with some sort of white liquid, which she thinks could have been pepper spray by the way it burned her eyes.
“At that point I retreated because I had a 12-year-old daughter behind me who was in tears, upset that children weren’t going to have their father with them,” Loverin said.
Loverin and her daughter said they watched as two men were taken away by federal agents.
Even though her husband is now an American citizen, Loverin said the incident felt personal for both her and her daughter.
“The trauma of being a child of an undocumented immigrant is huge,” Loverin said. “You never know if your parent is coming home from work. She just stood there asking why, ‘why are you doing this, why are you dividing this family, why are you taking this dad away?’”
It’s only Michael Krantz’s fourth day on the job and already Bend’s newest police chief has come face to face with protestors…some who have challenged his record confronting protests in Portland.
But Krantz says Bend PD’s presence at Wednesday’s protest was for safety reasons and they had no intention of assisting federal authorities.
“I asked a community member if I could use the bullhorn so I could address the crowd and address the community directly and tell them thank you for coming out and being peaceful,” Krantz said.
That peace lasted, Krantz said, throughout the evening, which is part of the reason no arrests were made.
“A peaceful crowd who was expressing their first amendment rights and doing it the way we expected to do it in Bend, is not really the place for an arrest,” Krantz said.
Despite claims local law enforcement was there ensure people remained safe, when federal agents arrived later in the evening, Bend Police left the immediate area.
That’s when protestors say they were shoved and pepper-sprayed by federal authorities.
“We pulled away for two reasons,” said Krantz. “We just went around the corner to give the federal agents room and to not be interfered with and not anyone else and to ensure that there was no confusion that we were a part of any actions they were taking. And there is also concern that if we step in and interfere that we would then be potentially liable for violating federal law for interfering with a federal investigation.”
Krantz added that he’s proud of the community as a whole for supporting each other and remaining non-violent.
“That’s really the message is that this was an example of how to provide the Bend community of what these events can look like,” Krantz said.
Bend-La Pine Schools Interim Superintendent Lora Nordquist will hold a virtual town hall next week to answer some of the most frequent questions about the district’s return to online learning this fall.
On Friday, parents should get communication from their schools, which will include a school-specific survey Nordquist said is critical for planning the upcoming year.
The Virtual Town Hall is planned for Wednesday, August 19th. The video will be recorded and shared with families on the district website as well.
English – Wednesday, August 19 at 4 p.m.
Spanish – Wednesday, August 19 at 6 p.m.
We hope to share recordings of these town halls with families on our district website.
You can read the rest of Nordquist’s note to parents below:
New Oregon Department of Education Guidance and Special Education
On Aug. 11, Oregon Department of Education released updated guidance that opens up more opportunities for onsite limited in-person instruction. While we still need to review this new guidance, this is great news for our students that experience disability and will be an important complement to Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) for all this fall. During CDL, special education services will be delivered through co-teaching, virtual class/small group instruction, and tele-health (for clinical service such as speech-language, occupational therapy, physical therapy). The addition of onsite limited in-person instruction will assist teachers and specialists in providing specially designed instruction and related services to some students. Further, we will be able to provide in-person special education evaluation/assessment services. We will have more information and specifics in the next few weeks, as we learn more about the requirements for onsite limited in-person instruction.
In the meantime, our special programs leadership team has been planning for fall CDL and share the following updates:
Special programs teacher leaders are developing standards of practice. This will help ensure that teams are operating under the same set of guidelines and that students will get more predictable levels of service.
A team of school psychologists and speech pathologists are planning procedures for in-person assessment and evaluations under the state’s guidance.
Speech and language services will continue to be offered via tele-health. We saw great success with the tele-health model last spring.
We learned much last spring about how best to utilize our inclusion educational assistants (EA) in support of learning and will incorporate that into our fall training. EAs are essential for us to support students during distance learning, just as they are when we are in person.
Our team of educators now have better knowledge on how to adapt and change methodologies in order to provide specially designed instruction and related services.
We are able to plan and train special programs staff in conjunction with regular education staff. You can expect to see common learning management systems and platforms and we plan to train parents on how to utilize these tools. Our hope is that students and families will have a more seamless experience.
You can expect that Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings will be held via WebEx until we are able to restore typical school operations.
Comprehensive Distance Learning and Bend-La Pine Schools Online
In my August 4 email update to families, I shared information about the fall’s Comprehensive Distance Learning and Bend-La Pine Schools Online options for student learning. To help address questions more completely, please see this side-by-side comparison chart for details.
OSAA Sports and Activities Update
Athletics and activities are an important part of the school experience for many of our students in Bend-La Pine Schools and are an integral part of our school cultures and identities. Wednesday, Aug. 5, the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) announced a modified athletic calendar for 2020-21.
Below is a brief synopsis/overview of the OSAA athletic calendars for the 2020-21 school year:
Season 1: Aug. 31 to Dec. 27, details to come at a later date
Winter Sports (season 2):Dec. 28 to March 7
Fall Sports (season 3):Feb. 22 to May 2 (football will run slightly longer through 5/9)
Spring Sports (season 4): April 19 to June 27
Activities Season: Cheerleading Feb. 22 to March 14; Dance and Drill March 9 to April 18; Speech April 5 to April 25; Solo Music April 12 to May 2; Choir April 19 to May 9; Band and Orchestra April 26 to May 16
With the start of the association year on Aug. 31, we currently remain focused on navigating Season 1. With local control over Season 1, we understand it will not be a “one size fits all” approach as Bend-La Pine Schools’ Season 1 could look very different from that of neighboring school districts.
As we continue to follow guidance from the Governor’s office, OSAA, Oregon Health Authority (OHA), and Oregon Department of Education (ODE), along with the OSAA sports medicine advisory committee, our goal will be to make the best decisions possible in safely supporting athletics and activities at middle and high schools within our school district.
We are currently working on plans with our schools’ athletic departments and administration and will have updates and announcements to our programs in the coming weeks. For updated information, stay connected with your coaches, athletic departments, athletic directors, and school.
For more from OSAA, visit http://www.osaa.org/coronavirus
You can find additional information about our plans to return to school, and Frequently Asked Questions on our Return to School webpage. Thank you, families, for your continued support during this time.
By TED TAYLOR and MATT McDONALD
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
A federal judge on Thursday denied a temporary restraining order that sought to keep the two men detained by ICE in Bend on Wednesday in the state of Oregon.
The Innovation Law Lab, a non-profit legal service in Portland, filed the temporary restraining order – arguing they were denied access to their clients during the standoff between protesters and federal agents in Bend.
After hearing arguments from attorneys for both the Innovation Law Lab and the Department of Homeland Security, Judge Karin J. Immergut denied the motion.
Immergut ruled the Innovation Law Lab failed to prove they had both standing in the case and that the men arrested had suffered irreparable harm.
However, Immergut did not dismiss the complaint outright.
She set a hearing for September 3rd for both sides to make further arguments. She also asked DHS attorneys for assurance the men would not be deported prior to the hearing.
An attorney for DHS said the men have likely already been transferred to the Tacoma Northwest Detention Center, after a stop at a detention center in the Dalles.
Family and friends have identified the men as Marco Zeferino and Josue Arturo Cruz Sanchez. In court, they were only referred to by their initials – which did align with the names provided by family and friends.
The men were arrested by ICE agents Wednesday morning on their way to work.
Hundreds of protesters learned of their arrest and blocked the ICE transport buses from leaving the area.
A 10-hour standoff ended around 11:15 p.m. when federal agents with the U.S. Border Patrol arrived in riot gear, pushed their way through the crowd and stormed the buses removing the men inside.
Homeland Security issued a statement Thursday on the arrests.
“ICE continues to target public safety threats and immigration violators,” said Homeland Security Investigations Spokeswoman Tonya Roman. “The two individuals arrested by ICE have criminal records that include convictions for assault, harassment, coercion, and criminal trespassing.
“They are also repeat immigration violators who were previously encountered by U.S. immigration officials and granted voluntary return to their home countries.”
Bend city officials on Wednesday said the agents had warrants for the arrests, but it’s unclear what those warrants were for.
Erin Carter, an attorney with the Bend Immigration Group, said it doesn’t matter what the charges are.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement has the authority to pick up non-citizens regardless of their criminal record.
“Many times it is a criminal record that prompts ice to take enforcement action against an individual,” she said. “Historically enforcement priorities by ICE were very clear under previous administrations.”
Oregon court records show Sanchez has a criminal record in Deschutes County dating back to 2015 for various offenses including speeding, driving while uninsured, and operating a vehicle without driving privileges.
In 2018 he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor fourth-degree assault (domestic violence) and felony coercion for injuring a woman and threatening more harm if she left him. He was sentenced to two years probation.
In February 2019 he pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal trespassing for unlawfully entering a residence.
In May 2019 he pleaded not guilty to fourth-degree assault charges stemming from an incident in November 2018; he’s scheduled for a jury trial in January.
Zeferino Rios admitted in 2019 to an attempt to commit a Class B misdemeanor – one attorney tells us that’s not even classified as a crime – in regard to a harassment claim.
Gofundme pages have been set up for the two men and their families, who Carter said have lived in Central Oregon for years.
We have reached out to the organizer of both and have not been able to verify her relationship with either of the two men.
A Sunriver-area man shot and killed a pit bull in self-defense Wednesday after the two people walking the dog trespassed on his property and started an argument, according to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.
The dog owner, 19-year-old Jessica Sunderman of La Pine, was charged with fourth-degree assault and second-degree criminal trespassing. Her companion, 23-year-old Dakota Pyatt, was also charged with second-degree trespassing.
Sgt. William Bailey said deputies were dispatched to a dispute involving gunfire around 7:30 p.m. at the 1400 block of S. Century Drive near Sunriver.
Deputies learned that Sunderman and Pyatt had left the area in a white pickup, heading toward Sunriver.
A Sunriver PD officer first spotted the truck at 7:41 pm on S. Century Dr. near milepost 13.
An Oregon State trooper and a DCSO deputy arrived shortly thereafter.
The pair was detained and authorities found a deceased pit bull in the truck.
During the subsequent investigation, deputies determined Pyatt and Sunderman had walked their pit bull near S. Century Drive.
During their walk, they were contacted by a property owner and told they were trespassing on private property.
Sunderman walked further onto the property to approach and argue with the woman who owned the property, Bailey said.
A physical altercation ensued soon after when Sunderman attacked the woman.
A second man on the property tried to intervene and Pyatt began arguing with him.
Bailey said during the dispute, Sunderman and Pyatt’s pit bull bit attacked the man, who was armed with a pistol and fired several rounds at the dog, killing it.
Sunderman and Pyatt collected their dog and left the area in their truck.
It was determined Pyatt and Sunderman were the primary aggressors and trespassed onto private property.
Deputies determined the male on the private property used his firearm in self-defense after being attacked by the pit bull.
Both Sunderman and Pyat were arrested by criminal citation and not taken to jail.
Alcohol is believed to be a contributing factor in this incident.
This investigation is ongoing and additional charges are being considered.
By TED TAYLOR, BROOKE SNAVELY and HEATHER ROBERTS
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Federal agents detained two men in Bend early Wednesday, but protesters were alerted to the situation and arrived to block the ICE buses from leaving the area, sparking an hours-long rally for immigrant rights.
The peaceful protest came to a head though just after 11 p.m. when armed U.S. Border Patrol agents in tactical gear arrived on the scene and stormed the buses to allegedly remove a driver with a medical issue.
Instead, pushing protesters out of the way, they went in and retrieved the two men and four others on the bus.
Several scuffles ensued between agents and protesters; a few were hit with pepper spray.
A raucous ending to a bizarre, but peaceful day.
After news about the arrests circulated on social media around 1 p.m., more than 250 people gathered around the buses outside a hotel near the Box Factory holding signs and chanting while Bend Police officers looked on from a distance.
A family friend told Central Oregon Daily News the two men were picked up on their way to work around 7 a.m. and couldn’t call their families until noon.
It remained unconfirmed Wednesday night who the men were or what they were detained for.
By 9:45 p.m., one of the protesters said it was transitioning from a rally to a vigil for the men and folks were settling in for what they expected to be a long night.
At 10 p.m. Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz arrived on the scene and spoke through a megaphone to tell the crowd more federal agents were on the way to ensure the safety of their employees.
He did not elaborate but said Bend Police had an obligation to stand back.
Mayor Sally Russell joined Krantz at the scene but did not speak. Both were peppered with insults as they walked away surrounded by officers.
Krantz’s warning did little to thin the crowd.
Word spread around 10:45 that federal agents were mobilizing at the National Guard Armory on Simpson Avenue as some of the protest organizers prepared the group for what was likely to happen.
As promised, the uniformed border patrol agents arrived, walking in formation dressed in riot gear as chants of “let them go” echoed off the buildings.
An agent shouted warnings to the crowd through a megaphone, asking them to disperse before non-lethal tactics would be used.
No one budged.
Several agents then made their way to the door of one of the buses to retrieve someone inside and an agent could be seen carrying someone on his shoulders away from the scene.
In all, it’s believed six people were rushed from inside the buses amid the commotion.
The chaotic scene quickly calmed down after the agents left the area.
By 11:30, the crowd started to disperse realizing the men were no longer on the bus.
Thursday morning, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement.
“The law enforcement activity in Bend, Oregon is part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s mission to arrest criminal aliens presenting a danger to public safety and take them off the street,” said Tanya Roman a spokeswoman with Homeland Security Investigations . “The two individuals arrested each had a history of criminal violent behavior.
“While ICE respects the rights of people to voice their opinion peacefully, that does not include illegally interfering with their federal law enforcement duties. ICE will take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of its officers and detainees, and will vigorously pursue prosecution against anyone who puts them in harm’s way.”
Earlier in the night, a protester was able to talk to at least one detainee through the walls of the bus.
“He will never forget your support because we are all the same and have the same rights,” he passed along to the crowd.
Erin Carter, a local immigration attorney on the scene told Central Oregon Daily the Portland-based nonprofit Innovation Law Lab has asked a federal court to keep ICE from taking the men out of Central Oregon.
She said the men have lived in Central Oregon for over a decade.
City of Bend Communications Director Anne Aurand confirmed Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were at the scene.
Russell told Central Oregon Daily “I’ve been told the two men they’re trying to find are criminals and have warrants out for their arrests.”
Facebook posts were making the rounds earlier in the day urging Central Oregon’s Latino community to stay indoors because immigration was making the rounds.
“I’ve been told this is not a sweep,” Russell said, adding that Bend Police were only on the scene because the crowd was volatile.
“The city does not use funds or equipment to enforce federal immigration laws or to detain people on immigration status,” she said.
Krantz reiterated that point in a video press conference Wednesday evening.
He said Bend PD had been notified that ICE was in the city conducting an investigation, but were unaware of any details and police were not part of any operation.
Officers were on scene to ensure public safety and allow the group to peacefully protest, he said.
“We hope for a completely peaceful resolution and to allow for our community to have their First Amendment rights safely expressed,” he said.
He also acknowledged the optics of some Bend SWAT team members arriving early on the scene dressed in fatigues.
Krantz said the officers were in training at the time and responded to the scene because patrol officers weren’t available. Once they assessed the situation, those officers were replaced.
“That could have caused some fear and response from community members and it was very important for us to replace those officers with regular patrol officers,” he said.
The crowd continued to grow throughout the day and included some faith leaders, including Morgan Schmidt from Bend’s First Presbyterian Church, members of the Central Oregon Peacekeepers group, and others.
They ate pizza as folks passed around water while the protest moved past the dinner hour. Sandwiches and water were shared with drivers of the buses as well.
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel arrived and was stopped multiple times by protesters asking questions, but he had few answers related to the incident.
In a Facebook post, the mayor asked everyone to “please leave peacefully.”
Krantz said the property owners had asked the protestors to leave the area, but police are not ready to take any action to remove anyone.
“There may be a low-level criminal action occurring but at some point, we have to balance that appropriately and balance towards the rights of our community,” he said.
The presence of Bend Police officers dwindled as the event grew larger with just a few officers seen in the area around 5:30.
Wednesday was Portland resident Michelle Markman’s first time floating at Harper Bridge in Sunriver.
While she was impressed by the views, she wasn’t so fond of the traffic.
“It’s pretty busy,” Markman said. “The street is kind of high traffic and speeding, and all of that. I think the side parking can be a little dangerous.”
Deschutes County Commissioners are looking to fix that.
On Wednesday they discussed an ordinance to make the area safer.
The changes could include a lower speed limit and a greater law enforcement presence, considering there’s no room for an official parking lot to be built.
Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Lt. William Bailey says plenty of warnings and citations have already been given out.
“Because of the popularity, we have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of vehicles,” Bailey said. “Parking concerns, and then some of the safety issues that come along with people adjacent to the roadway here.”
County commissioners say the main concern is safety.
And that they’ve received complaints about illegal parking, trouble crossing, and bridge jumping.
“I mean there’s no real pedestrian crossing,” Portland resident Angie Markman said. “And people, especially like for us, it was our first time taking out here. So we weren’t sure which side to go on, if it was this side or that side.”
While Wednesday’s meeting consisted of multiple short-term solutions, county commissioners agreed a long-term fix will not likely come until winter.
They will discuss the Harper Bridge ordinance again on Monday.
The Oregon Department of Education’s newest metrics that came down Tuesday will allow for some rural schools to reopen for in-person learning this Fall.
But despite their best efforts, Culver schools will not be among them.
“Well, it’s been a bit of a rough week,” Culver School District Superintendent Stefani Garber said.
Just last week, the Garber was hopeful they’d see students back in the classrooms this Fall.
“I was on a committee to try and come up with new metrics,” said Garber. “We did.”
But under the Oregon Department of Education’s new guidelines, Culver schools miss the mark for in-person learning by two measures: the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County, and transfer students who come from outside of the district’s boundaries.
“We would be able to meet the metrics if we were able to use zip codes,” said Garber. “And you can’t have more than 10% of your students being transfers, and we are right at 11%.”
Culver residents were disappointed at the news.
“I think they should be open for the kids to get knowledge,” said one resident. “But I don’t want to see them crowded in one spot that’s going to get them all sick at one time.”
“I think it’s time for them to open,” said another. “I think if they just use precautions all the way around, I think they’ll be fine.”
But Garber says, she’s not giving up.
“We’re going to throw a Hail Mary!” said Garber. “We are trying for a model of one day a week we have kids on-site and we line out the other four days in that one day and then they do distance learning the other four days. Starting full time distance learning is not the wish of the district at all.”
Garber says she plans to submit her proposal tomorrow and hopes to hear back from the state soon, possibly within a week.