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EPD and SPD investigating hate-messages littering neighborhoods

Police car at night.
Andrea Ferrario
Police car at night.

Local police want tips on who’s leaving hate-messages across Eugene-Springfield.

For weeks now, residents have reported finding plastic baggies weighed down with wood pellets in their neighborhoods.

The baggies contain anti-Semitic and anti-Black Lives Matter messages. They appear to be left overnight when it’s dark and there are few witnesses.

The sightings began a month ago in the Thurston area of Springfield, and more recently around Tugman Park in Eugene’s South Hills.

The baggies mirror similar incidents reported in recent months in Florida, Georgia, New York, and California.

Both Springfield and Eugene police tell KLCC they have investigators on the case. An EPD spokesperson says they’ve taken 50 separate calls over the past weekend, alone.

Residents can call both departments’ non-emergency lines if they see the baggies or have tips on who’s responsible.

In a statement, the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Lane County says it’s disturbed by the flyers, adding “hate against one of us is hate against all of us.”

The JCRC adds though that while the intent of the group behind the messages is to spread animosity, division and fear, it’s “deeply moved and heartened” by community members who’ve reported the baggies and denounced them.

Late last month, four men - including a known neo-Nazi active in California - were cited for distributing similar anti-Semitic material in Palm Beach, Florida. It’s unknown at this time if they are connected to the baggies distributed in the Eugene-Springfield area.

Non-emergency lines for local law enforcement:

Eugene Police (541)682-5111

Springfield Police (541)726-3714

The Oregon Dept. of Justice also requests people report hate/bias crimes and incidents on their non-emergency line: 1-844-924-BIAS (1-844-924-2427)

If there is an emergency, always call 911.

Update: In a release issued Feb. 21, Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis shared the following statement:

"This weekend, flyers promoting anti-Semitic messages were found by community members in Eugene and reported to Eugene Police Department. The flyers appear to be similar to the hate messages distributed in Springfield over the last few weeks.

"Anti-Semitic messages are designed to divide our community, and they have no place here. Hateful messages violate everything our City stands for and all that we are working to be – a city that is safe and welcoming for everyone (Resolution 5174, 2016).

"In 2017, our City Council adopted Resolution 5190 declaring our opposition to anti-Semitic Hate and Bias Crimes. We understand the negative impacts of such messages in the targeted communities. Nevertheless, we must ask community members to continue reporting any potential criminal activity to Eugene Police by calling 541-682-5111 or dialing 911 in an emergency. Special Investigations Unit Detectives will investigate the messages and work with the Office of Equity and Community Engagement (OECE) to support our community members. Hate speech and other acts of discrimination can be reported online or by calling OECE at 541-682-5177.

"We thank the community for reporting acts of hate to Eugene Police and to OECE. We take these reports seriously. The City of Eugene rejects these hateful acts and will direct city resources to stop them."

KLCC 89.7 FM is a public radio station in Eugene Oregon, licensed to Lane Community College.
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