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Annual report shows jump in hate and bias reports in Oregon

File photo of the Oregon Department of Justice
File photo of the Oregon Department of Justice

An Oregon hotline that takes reports of hate and bias incidents saw a significant increase in calls last year.

Reports to the hotline increased by 53 percent in 2021 according to a newly-released summary from the Oregon Department of Justice. On average, more than four people reported a hate or bias incident every single day. With the hotline in just its third year of existence, it’s possible that uptick is a result of more people learning about it, said Randall Blazak, chair of the Oregon Coalition Against Hate Crimes. But he said it’s yielding critical data nonetheless.

“It’s telling us that there’s just a huge bunch of crimes that are not reported to law enforcement, that people don’t feel comfortable for numerous reasons, but they will feel comfortable reporting to the hotline," he said.

The largest percentage of victims who called the hotline are Black. Meanwhile, reports of anti-Asian incidents saw the biggest increase from the year before.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”