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Eugene’s annual hate and bias report shows progress, with caveats

This map shows the general locations of reported hate and bias incidents in Eugene in 2021.
City of Eugene
This map shows the general locations of reported hate and bias incidents in Eugene in 2021.

Eugene’s annual report on hate and bias showed a sharp decrease in the number of incidents in 2021. But city officials caution there might be more to the story.

The 43 reported cases were just under half of what was reported the year before. But now that the Oregon Department of Justice has started taking reports of bias crimes on a statewide hotline, Eugene officials say the city’s data may be incomplete. They’re working with state officials to reduce overlap between the two hotlines.

Meanwhile, at a Tuesday event where city leaders and civil rights organizations unveiled the 2021 report, Eugene police chief Chris Skinner said hate and bias incidents continue. He said the department had just learned of an assault on a trans woman.

“While we sit here and can celebrate that we’re trending in the right direction, in the last 24 hours we have yet another incident of hate and bias in our community that we have to make sure that we root out,” said Skinner.

According to the report, African Americans were the most affected target of physical violence and intimidation in Eugene last year, and the Jewish community was the main target of vandalism.

"Each and every single one of these figures is an individual," said Eugene Springfield NAACP President Miles Pendleton. "It's a community member, it's a family member, it's a son, daughter. It's somebody who has been faced with a situation that nobody ever wishes upon anybody within their lives or within our community."

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.”
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