Tag Archives: Tacoma

Homeless “campers” in Pierce County, Washington decline monetary offer to cleanup their own messes

pierce county homeless pierce county sheriffs office photo

Pierce County homeless encampment/Pierce County Sheriff’s Office photo

These “campers” don’t want to help themselves. They just want a handout.

From MyNorthwest.com: The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office recently took a proactive approach to clear homeless encampments. (Pierce County is just south of King County/Seattle area.)

Deputies offered to pay homeless campers to clean up their own mess — the campers did not accept.

Pierce County Sheriff’s Office detective and spokesman Ed Troyer told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that a group of adults created a large encampment in the woods near Canyon Road and State Route 512, just south of Tacoma.

They were self-proclaimed campers; they even put up signs in the woods,” Troyer explained. He said that the campers all have cell phones and have set up their own social networks to know where to go to get free goods and services.

But the arrival of the campers brought a whole host of problems for homeowners in the area. Crime — including shoplifting, vandalism, arson, and theft — spiked “a couple hundred percent” in the nearby neighborhoods, Troyer said.

“It was really a detriment to the neighborhood to the point where kids weren’t going outside, neighbors were afraid of the area,” he said.

A cleanup of the encampment revealed 30 tons of waste. It was waste that included not only human excrement and drug paraphernalia but also kids’ toys and “enough carts to start their own grocery store,” according to Troyer. There were no children living in the encampment, so all of the toys, Troyer said, were stolen.

“That means there are a lot of kids out there who have become the victim of crime for really no apparent reason,” he said.

To clean up the area and give the campers employment, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office offered the squatters a job cleaning up their own encampment. Troyer said nobody took them up on the offer. “They wouldn’t even clean up their own site if we paid them to clean up their own site,” he said.

Officers from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, along with volunteers from the surrounding neighborhoods, went into the woods and spent 300 hours cleaning the area. The homeless people left on foot or on bikes.

“Our guys are proactive, go out and do the work, and are rewarded and acknowledged for what they do,” Troyer said.

A slideshow of before-and-after photos can be viewed on the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. (They provide more details about the crime incidents and interaction with the homeless campers.)

“The news is that it can be taken care of, it can be cleaned up, and it can be done when you have the backing of your supervisors and bosses, and let the guys go work,” he said, adding, “We really reclaimed that area and we’re gonna keep it.”

DCG

Twice-deported illegal alien accused of raping young girl in Oregon

illegal lopez fabian clatsop county jail photo

Illegal alien Lopez-Fabian/Clatsop County Jail photo

In February 2017, as a result of Trump’s immigration travel ban, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an executive order that forbids all state agencies and employees from helping federal immigration officials locate or apprehend undocumented immigrants illegal aliens. As of January 2018, the governor vowed to remain a sanctuary state.

From Fox News: A twice-deported illegal immigrant — who posted bail the same day he was charged with the rape of a young girl in Oregon — is now in the custody of immigration officials, federal records show.

Seaside police arrested Guatemalan national Anastacio Eugenio Lopez-Fabian, 24, in February after investigators determined he had sex several times with a girl younger than 14, the Daily Astorian reported Monday. He was also charged with assault and harassment.

Lopez-Fabian was released the same day he was arrested after he was able to post $25,000 bail. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained him March 7 at a courthouse parking lot prior to a scheduled hearing.

Lopez-Fabian is now in custody at a detention center in Tacoma, Wash., according to federal records.

“Hours after his release, ICE deportation officers received information from federal databases about his prior immigration history and his most recent arrest,” ICE spokeswoman Carissa Cutrell told the Daily Astorian. “From there, they conducted an online review of jail and court records and determined that Lopez-Fabian did not have lawful status in the country, and subsequently, targeted him for immigration enforcement.”

Lopez-Fabian had been deported in 2013 and 2014, Cutrell said.

Cutrell criticized the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office for not alerting the agency of Lopez-Fabian’s arrest.

Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin pushed back on the criticism, however, saying there wasn’t much his office could’ve done because Lopez-Fabian had posted bail.

“My office knows to cooperate with ICE,” Bergin told KATU-TV. “But, ICE also has a blanket statement that they have been putting out saying that this agency didn’t do this or failed to do that. We will continue to cooperate with ICE, within the confines of the law.

DCG

Spokane decides to outlaw immigration detention by police

illegal immigration

From NBC News: The city of Spokane has agreed to change its policies to make clear that police officers will not question or detain people to enforce federal immigration laws. That’s part of a final settlement the city reached Tuesday in federal court with the ACLU of Washington and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.

The case stems from a 2014 traffic accident when the vehicle of Gabriel Gomez was struck by a minivan that failed to yield the right of way.  A Spokane police officer responded and contacted the U.S. Border Patrol to ask whether the agency had any interest in Gomez.

The officer issued a ticket to the other driver and then let that driver leave the scene. However, the officer detained Gomez until the Border Patrol arrived and took him into custody.

“I have lived in this community for many years, and to suddenly have the police turn against me after being a victim in the accident really turned my life upside down,” Gomez said in a press release. “I want to be able to trust the police.”

City officials did not immediately return a message seeking comment.  Spokane is Washington’s second-largest city with about 210,000 residents.

Gomez was eventually transferred by immigration officials to the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, where he remained until he posted bond. Gomez is seeking legal status to remain in this country, the ACLU said.

The lawsuit contended the officer unlawfully detained Gomez for purposes of investigating his immigration status and prolonged his detention to assist federal officers. The lawsuit also alleged that city policies unlawfully authorized officers to take such actions.

As part of the settlement, the city agreed to modify its policies to clarify that police officers “shall not contact, question, delay, detain or arrest an individual because s/he is suspected of violating immigration laws,” the settlement said.

ACLU Washington issued this statement on their web site:

“This is an important step towards ensuring that all community members receive equal treatment from police officials,” said Matt Adams, Legal Director for Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP). “The changed policies will help the City to move forward in working to serve all the community members, regardless of their perceived immigration status.”

“We’re pleased that the City has recognized the need to change its policies to prevent such unfair treatment of immigrants in the future,” said Enoka Herat, ACLU of Washington Police Practices and Immigrant Rights Counsel.

DCG

Judge lowers bond for illegal alien tracked down by ICE after speaking to media

illegal

Why isn’t the illegal alien using his money to apply for citizenship? Does he purposely want to tear his family apart? Course he could return to his native Mexico and his family.

From Seattle Times: An immigration judge Thursday sharply reduced the bond for Baltazar Aburto Gutierrez, whose November detention by immigration-enforcement officials raised concern that he was being retaliated against for speaking to the news media.

Judge Charles McCullough set the bond at $5,000, down from $25,000. Aburto Gutierrez has money to pay and expects to do so Friday, said his lawyer, Stephen Robbins, after a courtroom hearing at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, where Aburto Gutierrez is being held.

When the Mexican immigrant delivers the bond, he will be released and plans to return to his Pacific County home, Robbins said. “He’s very relieved and very happy,” the attorney said of his client.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials arrested Gutierrez, 35, early on Nov. 27 as he was heading to Okie’s Thriftway Market in Ocean Park for coffee and eggs. Recounting the arrest by phone from the detention center last month, the shellfish worker said he had just gotten off work.

“You are the one from the newspaper,” he said an ICE officer told him after seeing Aburto Gutierrez drive in.

The Mexican native, who said he has lived in Pacific County for 15 years, concluded that ICE was retaliating against him for talking to The Seattle Times about the earlier arrest of his longtime girlfriend.

Aburto Gutierrez has no criminal record, an ICE arrest report provided by his attorney confirms.

In a phone call last week, Gov. Jay Inslee told acting ICE Director Thomas Homan he was worried about the “chilling effect on free speech.”

Homan, however, said retaliation was not the reason for Aburto Gutierrez’s arrest. ICE officers had met him in June as they arrested his girlfriend and turned over the couple’s children to his care, the acting director said. By November, officers realized the children had left for Mexico to be with their mother and no longer needed Aburto Gutierrez’s care, Homan said.

That information came in as a tip on Nov. 16, according to the ICE report, which makes no mention of the Nov. 9 Times story in which Aburto Gutierrez’s account of his girlfriend’s arrest appears. The story, about ramped-up ICE enforcement in Pacific County and its impact on Donald Trump voters and other locals, attracted international attention.

Soon after, two ICE officers set up “surveillance” at Okie’s, knowing that Aburto Gutierrez usually came to the store everyday between 7:30 and 8 a.m., according to the arrest report. They got their man at 7:50.

DCG

Washington State Amtrak Derailment: Officials expedited new rail line to capture federal money

amtrack derailment

On Monday, an Amtrak train derailed in Washington state killing 3 people and injuring over 70. About the incident, from NPR:

The train, identified by Amtrak as the high-speed Train 501 from Seattle to Portland, was carrying 77 passengers and seven crew members when it derailed above Interstate 5 just after 7:30 a.m. local time. All but one of its cars and engines jumped the tracks, and at least one fell to the roadway below.

MultiCare Health System, a local network of medical centers, says that 22 people involved in the crash have been hospitalized at three of its facilities. Five patients have also been sent to St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, two of whom are in critical condition. Multiple other medical centers have reported receiving patients from the crash.

A spokesman for the Washington State Patrol said there were an additional 23 injuries total, 10 in serious condition, four with moderate injuries and nine with minor injuries.

It remains unclear what caused the crash. But the train had never used the route it took Monday — as NPR’s Martin Kaste notes, Monday marked its inaugural trip on a more inland route than usual.

Turns out we know the major factor for the crash: According to the NTSB, the train was going 50 mph over the posted speed limit.

Turns out there may be another factor for the crash: Rushed implementation to achieve federal dollars. NTSB hasn’t commented on that factor yet. Their final accident report won’t be released for months, maybe even a year.

Hanna Scott reports for MyNorthwest.com that the new rail line connected to Monday’s deadly train derailment opened much earlier than originally planned, and before a key safety system was operational.

State transportation officials originally planned to have the corridor refurbished in 2019, but in order to get federal stimulus money for the project, construction had to be done by mid-2017. So officials set a new deadline.

The Seattle Times uncovered documents from 2016, where Sound Transit described the project as being under a “very aggressive schedule” and that even a one-month delay would have impacts. Other officials had previously said they expected the train’s safety system — Positive Train Control — to be operational before the new line started. (This train was not using the Congress-mandated safety technology on that stretch of track that possibly could have prevented the disaster.)

Instead, it met that more aggressive deadline and started running several months before Sound Transit planned to have the safety system operational.

The train was traveling at approximately 80 mph Monday morning as it entered a curve that should have been taken at about 30 mph, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The majority of the train cars derailed, killing three and injuring more than 70.

DCG

Tacoma should spend $440,000 a year to defend residents facing deportation, task force says

amanda dias ups photo

Amanda Diaz: Wants to spend taxpayer dollars on illegal aliens/Photo from University of Puget Sound website

How about no.

From Seattle Times (by Candice Ruud): A task force created to focus on the needs of immigrants and refugees (aka illegal aliens) in Tacoma has recommended the City Council spend $440,000 per year to establish a legal-defense fund for Tacoma residents detained at the Northwest Detention Center.

The money would pay for two attorneys and two paralegals who would represent people facing deportation, said Amanda Diaz, a member of the task force and student president at the University of Puget Sound. Another option would be to spend half that money for one lawyer and paralegal to provide some measure of legal representation to detained people, Diaz said.

The recommendation comes seven months after the task force was created and at a time of heightened awareness over federal immigration policy. Stepped-up deportation efforts that have followed President Donald Trump’s inauguration have created emotional and financial strain for many Tacoma families, she said.

Unlike in criminal cases where defendants are represented by a publicly funded attorney if they can’t afford one, people facing deportation are not guaranteed a lawyer, according to the American Immigration Council. This year, the city of Seattle committed $1 million to paying for legal defense for immigrants and refugees, and officials there said they would seek ways to continue that funding in the future.

Members of a Tacoma City Council committee who received the task force’s recommendation this month were receptive to the idea but not ready to implement it. They requested more information from the task force and city staff about how the money would be spent.

“This is coming to us a little less fleshed out than we normally have policies coming to us. Normally we have a lot more of these questions answered,” Councilman Marty Campbell said. “I think we should do this, but first let’s explore it and figure out how.”

An attorney for the Tacoma office of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project told members of the council’s Community Vitality and Safety Committee that the need for legal representation for detainees at the Northwest Detention Center is pressing.

Having access to a lawyer throughout the legal process would improve their chances of not being deported and keep their families intact, attorney Tim Warden-Hertz said.

Each year, 50 to 100 Tacoma residents are detained at the Northwest Detention Center, he said.

“Enforcement has changed — enforcement year over year has increased 40 percent over last year for people in the Northwest, for people in our area,” Warden-Hertz said. “That’s what has changed and that’s what this administration has meant for families in Tacoma — it’s meant more families being torn apart. That’s why I think this feels so important right now.”

Diaz said there are other downsides to increased deportation efforts.

“There has been a decrease in reporting crimes by immigrants for fear of (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raids. There have been parents scared to drop off their kids at school for fear of ICE involvement in government buildings,” she said. “Various members of the task force have identified families left homeless because the main breadwinner is being detained at the Northwest Detention Center. Children are entering the foster-care system because one or both of their parents are detained.”

Most members of the Vitality and Safety committee agreed there is a need for a legal-defense fund for immigrants, but they also said there are needs for other corners of Tacoma’s population, such as those facing eviction proceedings.

Task-force members also recommended that the city create a standing commission on immigration and refugee affairs that would deal with issues unique to that community.

They also asked the City Council to take immediate steps to provide equitable language access for a variety of languages across all city services. Access to language and translation services was identified last year as a major barrier for Latino residents working to integrate into Tacoma life, council members pointed out.

DCG

Chick-fil-A announces two more Seattle-area locations

chick fil a lynnwood

People camped out for the opening of the Lynnwood Chick-Fil-A

Liberals hardest hit.

From Seattle Times: The extremely popular (and sometimes controversial) Chick-fil-A chain has announced plans for two new Seattle-area branches: Bothell and Federal Way (exact locations TBA). Kirkland and Puyallup are still slated to get their own outlets for the fast-food fried-chicken-sandwich in 2017 as well. The company had promised an announcement of four to five more Washington branches at the beginning of this year, but no word on any others yet (nor on opening dates for the ones in the works).

The Bellevue franchise of Chick-fil-A opened to camping-out crowds (and subsequent traffic problems) in the spring of 2015, with Tacoma, Lynnwood, and Vancouver, Washington, branches following.

And the obligatory anti-Chick-fil-A statement from the liberal Seattle Times:

If you’re interested in exploring other options, here are four great local fried-chicken sandwiches that aren’t Chick-fil-A. And here’s one more that might just be the best around.

DCG