Why a new Oregon law seeks to improve how hate crimes are reported

Ellen Rosenblum, Oregon attorney general

In late October, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office won the first conviction under Oregon’s new hate crime law. The case involved a 50-year-old man who hurled slurs at two gay men before picking a fight with them. 

The conviction marks a shift in Oregon’s response to hate crimes under a new law passed earlier this year. The law being implemented by prosecutors, police and others also could shed light on the breadth of hate in Oregon and result in a broader response.

The FBI’s annual release of hate crime statistics shows the number of incidents rising in Oregon and nationally. The statistics are widely used but the FBI relies on data given voluntarily by local jurisdictions, which differ in how they document hate crimes.

In Oregon . . .