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Ashland City Council forced to push vote on ID ordinance

Last month, the Ashland City Council voted 5 to 1 in favor of the ordinance at its first reading. Tuesday night, it was unable to vote.

Posted: Jul 17, 2019 12:10 AM
Updated: Aug 6, 2019 9:00 PM

ASHLAND, Ore. – Last month, the Ashland City Council voted 5 to 1 in favor of the ordinance at its first reading. Tuesday night, it was unable to vote because they ran out of time.

The Ashland City Council listened to dozens of people who oppose Ordinance 3176. It has a rule that it must stop meetings at 10:30pm. Councilmembers ran out of time tonight and were not able to vote for or against the ordinance. The people that filled the room Tuesday night said Ordinance 3176 encourages racial profiling and discrimination against homeless people, people in the LGBTQ community and undocumented immigrants.

"I believe this is a slippery slope,” said Ashland resident who opposes the ordinance, Pauline Black.

Ashland police Chief Tighe O'Meara said this ordinance only allows a police officer to ask for someone's name and birthday if there is probable cause that that person has broken an Ashland law. He added right now officers can't cite people if they don't give their name or birthday. In turn, he said people have learned they can violate Ashland laws and not face consequences.

"If you want me to keep the town safe, don't tie my hand behind my back,” said Chief O’Meara. “Just look over my shoulder and make sure I'm doing the job the way they want me to do it.”

Those who do not give officers that information can face 30 days in jail and face a $1,250 fine. People against the ordinance say that's too high of a consequence.

"This is the wrong direction for Ashland to go. We have so much work to do as a community as a state to reform the criminal justice system to make it more just so that it works for everyone. This would be moving backwards," said Michelle Glass.

If the ordinance passes, it goes into effect 30 days later. It will also expire a year later in order to study its impacts.

Depending on the number of items on the agenda, the Ashland City Council said it will likely vote at its next meeting in August.

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