Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum told legislators Tuesday that Oregon has a problem with the way it reports acts of hate.
“In 2017, the data reflected that Medford, Grants Pass, Bend, Roseburg, Woodburn, The Dalles and Tualatin among many others reported a sum total of zero hate crimes committed,” Rosenblum told a Senate committee.
During that same period, Eugene reported 72 hate crimes. Rosenblum says you could interpret that data to mean Eugene is suffering from an epidemic of hate while other communities are immune from bias crimes.
“Or you can believe as I do,” she said, “that Eugene has shown a demonstrated commitment to investigating and reporting hate and bias.”
She wants to see more cities do that. This winter, she toured the state listening to public testimony on hate crimes. On Tuesday, she was in the legislature pushing Senate Bill 577, which would streamline and broaden data collection requirements for law enforcement.
Rosenblum says the new requirements are needed to help Oregon get a better picture of hate and bias, as a next step toward combating and preventing them.
“I hear repeatedly from community members that they feel like ‘nothing will happen anyhow,’ so there’s no point in making the call to report,” she said. “And because that call isn’t made, that hate incident basically disappears from the record.”