County News Dispatch: ICE, Metro parks, equity resolution adopted, Human remains found in county

A rendering of the Chehalem Ridge nature park, courtesy of Metro

This week’s installment of the County Dispatch – Quick hits that you should read, that we want to write about, but don’t have the staff and time to fully dive into. 

Human remains found — twice — in Washington county

WASHINGTON COUNTY – It’s the second set of human remains found in the county in as many weeks. The first, found in the Hillsboro landfill on Feb. 11, were later found to either be a convincing fake or simply a decades-old medical specimen, depending on which news site you read. 

Now, human remains — certainly those of a deceased individual this time — have been found on the border of Beaverton and Aloha in a wooded area near along a set of train tracks, according to the Oregonian

A press release from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office says that the remains were discovered by a person walking in the area on Saturday, Feb. 22 who called law enforcement. 

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Deputies have determined that the remains belong to an adult who passed away several months ago, with no indication of foul play at the time of the press release. Other details are scarce, and will likely remain so until the Medical Examiner’s Office releases additional information. 

Washington County Board of Commissioners adopt equity resolution

In less grisly news, the Washington County Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted a “Resolution on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” which, according to the county, will be a guiding document for their long-term efforts in advancing the county’s goal of creating a more inclusive Washington County community. 

According to a press release, which you can read here, the resolution was developed through a collaborative process with a variety of community stakeholders, experts, and county employees and residents. 

The entire resolution can be found here

Speaking of the county:

Did you know that Washington County maintains a calendar of various county, local, and city events? That’s right: It includes county sponsored events, various city council meetings, CPO meetings and more. If you’re looking for ways to spend your time in the civic arena, find volunteer opportunities, and seek out ways to engage with the broader Washington County community, give this link a visit

ICE and the county

The state of Oregon has been a “sanctuary state” since a 1987 bill that prohibited local law enforcement agencies from using their resources to enforce federal immigration law after racist police officers.

It’s been a source of frustration for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, who specifically targeted the Washington County policy of not honoring detainer requests in a widely-published story from November of last year. 

But last week, ICE appears to have found a way to get around Oregon’s sanctuary laws, issuing subpoenas for information regarding two individuals in Washington County the agency wanted to deport, the first such issued in the state of Oregon by ICE. 

You can read more about that here at OPB

Metro Chehalem Ridge update

Located between Forest Grove and Gaston, the Chehalem Ridge Nature Park is a Portland Metro Regional Government owned tract of land that is being developed into a park.

In a February 26 email, Metro parks staff confirmed that construction had actually begun on the park. 

Work to date at the property had been limited to restoration work, such as planting native shrubs, weed control, and forest management. 

In an October 30 email, Metro parks staff provided a handful of updates on the park, which is scheduled to see construction begin in 2020.

According to Metro, the park will feature areas for picnicking, trails for walking, biking, horse riding and enjoying nature, and will have restroom facilities on site. 

The first phase of construction is expected to last a year, according to Metro, with the park expected to open to the public in 2021.

In the email, parks staff noted the region’s connection to the homeland of the Kalapuya tribes and bands  

“Like much of the western Tualatin Valley, Chehalem Ridge rests on the homeland of Kalapuya tribes and bands and the Clatskanie, and others. Chehalem Ridge and the lands surrounding it has sustained Indigenous people from time immemorial, and Indigenous cultures shaped the land and environment,” the email read.

More information can be found at the Metro website for the park

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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