Oregon Coalition Against Hate Crime

Fighting hate by networking resources

Will LGBTQ “Safe Places” come to Portland? — June 24, 2016

Will LGBTQ “Safe Places” come to Portland?

SEATTLE — A program in Seattle designed to help protect the LGBTQ community is getting interest from other major cities across the country.

Safe Place was launched in May 2015 and allows businesses and schools to post signs in their windows, indicating they are a “safe place” for victims of anti-LGBTQ crimes and harassment to seek help.

Officer Jim Ritter, the Seattle Police Department’s LGBTQ liaison officer and head of Safe Place, is in San Francisco this week to teach that city more about the program.

His visit came as a gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people and injuring dozens of others.

“After hearing the news of these shootings in Orlando, I had to remind myself that the person who committed these murders did more than just take lives of innocent victims,” Officer Ritter said. “He kind of single-handedly brought to life the fact that these hate crimes against the LGBT community that they face daily are very real and a problem that needs to be addressed.”’

Ritter, who is gay, said the shooting has sparked a worldwide conversation about LGBTQ rights and the challenges the community still faces. He hopes the tragedy will be a reminder to anyone who is the victim of a hate crime that they should not be afraid to report it.

Since the Safe Place program launched in Seattle, around 1,600 businesses and schools have signed on, Ritter said. In addition to San Francisco, he said cities like Tucson, Ariz., and Philadelphia have also expressed interest in launching similar initiatives.

Source: Seattle’s ‘Safe Place’ program getting interest from other major cities

Vancouver church known for inclusiveness suffers from suspicious fire — May 25, 2016

Vancouver church known for inclusiveness suffers from suspicious fire

From KGW.com

VANCOUVER, Wash. — A fire damaged the roof and interior of a church in the Hazel Dell neighborhood Wednesday morning.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was on scene helping the fire marshal figure out what happened, and whether the fire could be arson.

Firefighters were called at about 3 a.m. to the report of flames coming from the First Congressional United Church of Christ, at 1220 NE 68th St.

Photos: Fire damages Hazel Dell church

Crews said they believe the fire had started on the outside of the building and spread inside the church. They say it was a fast-moving fire and the glow of it could be seen from Interstate 5. Crews were afraid the roof would collapse.

“We were inside at one point and time, and feared this building would come down on top of us,” said David Schmitke, with Clark County Fire District 6. “We were very defensive at first, trying to keep it from collapsing.”

No one was hurt.

Jennifer Olson lives nearby the church. She says she woke up around 3 a.m., felt something wasn’t right, and looked out her window. That’s when she saw a huge ball of flames coming from the church.

“The flames were coming out good. They were coming out big time. It’s just kind of weird. You just don’t expect it to happen in your area. Especially the church,” said neighbor Rod McSwan.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire within a few hours, but are still watching for hot spots, and are working to save the steeple and cross.

Church members said they are devastated. Church Pastor Jennifer Brownell said the building means a lot to her and to the congregation. It’s a safe place and the church welcomes everyone, she says.

“We’ve always been at the forefront in a lot of ways. Welcoming of gay and lesbian people, and really involved in children’s issues and racial issues this building. This spot has always been a real rallying point for people,” she said.

It was built to look like a dove, and a lot of people think it looks like Noah’s Ark. She says both are fitting symbols as they look to rebuild.

“We like both the dove and Noah’s Ark image. They both are beautiful for us. The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit and the work of God and the Ark is a symbol of safety and sanctuary,” she said. “Both of those are important to us and we’ll keep those images in mind as we move ahead.”

She says they will worship Sunday, although it might not be inside the damaged sanctuary. She says they might have an impromptu worship service Wednesday, too.

No damage estimates were available.

Note: Martha’s Pantry, the food pantry at the church, will be closed due to smoke damage Thursday and Friday. People seeking food support should contact Clark County Food Bank.

Buddhist monk attacked in possible hate crime in Hood River — March 10, 2016

Buddhist monk attacked in possible hate crime in Hood River

From KGW.com

HOOD RIVER, Ore. — A Buddhist monk was attacked in Hood River, in what police believe was a possible hate crime.

Kozen Sampson2_1457557322436_923421_ver1.0

Kozen Sampson said he was dressed in his traditional brown robe when the attacker approached him.  He said the stranger suddenly yelled and kicked his car door into him, hitting him in the head. The man then referred to Sampson as a Muslim and walked away.

Sampson described the suspect as a white man with brown hair. Police are investigating, but do not have any suspects at this time.

The attack occurred near the intersection of 12th Street and Eugene Avenue in Hood River on Feb. 29.  Investigators said Sampson, from Trout Lake, Wash., was visiting the area to do obedience training with his dogs.

Sampson suffered injuries to his face, but was recovering from the attack.

Police are hoping the public may have information that can help them on this case.  Anyone with tips is encouraged to call Detective Rivera, with the Hood River Police Department, at (541)387-5257.


Saturday! Jan. 16 to Rally at City Hall #Stand for Love #Interrupt Hate — January 13, 2016

Saturday! Jan. 16 to Rally at City Hall #Stand for Love #Interrupt Hate

From the Center for Intercultural Organizing:


WHAT:  Rally to #Stand for Love #Interrupt Hate 

DATE:  Saturday, January 16th 

TIME:  1 pm 

PLACE: Portland City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Ave #110, Portland, OR 97204

We are parents, grandparents, neighbors, caregivers and friends and we reject the hateful rhetoric targeting Muslims, black people, immigrants, refugees, women, Latinos, Arabs, Jews, LGBTQ communities (and on and on)! Those messages of hate do not represent us or the hundreds of thousands of Oregonians who call this state home. We want to show every community in this City that we will stand up for love and interrupt the hate.

Join us, your neighbors and friends, as we gather together at Portland City Hall on Saturday, January 16th at 1 pm, to show up for the communities being targeted and to send out a new message that hate doesn’t belong here—only love and respect does.

We will be hosting a rally with speakers from the communities who have been targeted and those who stand in solidarity with them – along with other local civil rights leaders. This event will be followed by a peaceful public demonstration that will show the whole city that we stand together for love, inclusion and respect.

Invite your families, neighbors, and friends to come out too!

Let’s take care of our Muslim neighbors — December 8, 2015

Let’s take care of our Muslim neighbors


In this time of elevated Islamophobia, I ask the members of the CAHC and the larger community to be extra supportive of our Muslim friends, neighbors and work colleagues. We know that hate crimes are correlated with bigoted rhetoric in the mainstream.

Severed pig’s head thrown at Philadelphia mosque door

Others, including Sikhs, Arabic Christians, and Persians may also become targets of this new wave of hate. Let’s be clear that we do not stand with the perpetrators of such actions and hateful speech. We also know that victimized communities have elevated levels of fear, anxiety and social withdrawal. This is the time to check in on the members of the community and make sure they are OK and let them know we are united against this un-American xenophobia.

If you are a victim of an attack or harassment, please contact law enforcement. More information at: https://oregoncahc.org/report-a-hate-crimeincident/

Let’s take care of each other.

CAHC response to Lewis & Clark bias crime report. — November 23, 2015

CAHC response to Lewis & Clark bias crime report.

On Saturday, November 21, 2015, there was a report of a racially motivated assault on a Lewis & Clark student. The Coalition Against Hate Crime wants to form an appropriate response but it is important to point out that this is currently an ongoing investigation.

The Portland Police Bureau has issued a statement and is asking members with any information about this  incident is asked to contact Detective Todd Prosser at 503-823-9320, todd.prosser@portlandoregon.gov.

Portland Police Statement

It is the position of the CAHC to aid hate crime victims and their community in a healing response to the corrosive impact of hate crimes and incidents so there will be further communications about this case in the future.

Portland police investigating assault of Lewis & Clark student as potential hate crime —

Portland police investigating assault of Lewis & Clark student as potential hate crime

By Maxine Bernstein | The Oregonian/OregonLive

A black student at Lewis & Clark College was assaulted on campus by three white men who used racial epithets during the attack, Portland police said Saturday.

The 26-year-old student told officers he was assaulted in the Estate Gardens, near the reflecting pool, about 9 p.m. Friday, police said. He waited more than three hours before notifying police at 12:49 a.m. Saturday, saying he first talked with friends about it, Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson said.

Investigators are treating the attack as a potential hate crime, according to police and college officials. Meanwhile, Lewis & Clark is bringing in extra security for the Southwest Portland campus.

The student, who was not named, fought back and was able to get away, police said. Though police said he did not require medical attention, college officials said medical personnel did respond and treated the student at the scene.

What’s Yik Yak?
The online bulletin board attracts college students who comment — seemingly anonymously — about their campuses. And though the company has shared user information with law enforcement recently, users still post threatening messages — including some last week that referenced Lewis & Clark College in Southwest Portland.

The student was described later Saturday morning as “physically safe,” and being supported on campus, according to Anna Gonzalez, dean of students.

Police said the three suspects were described as college-age white males, 5 foot 8 inches tall with medium builds.

Full story here: The Oregonian

No evidence of organized KKK activity — November 18, 2015

No evidence of organized KKK activity

The History Of The KKK In Oregon

Fliers promoting the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) have been found in various locations around Oregon, most recently in Molalla. It’s unclear who is distributing the fliers and if they have an official connection to the well-known hate group.

Sociologist Randy Blazak has studied hate groups for decades and he says he does not know of any organized KKK chapter in Oregon right now, but the group does have quite a history in the state. The 1920s was the heyday of the KKK nationwide and in Oregon, when local officials felt comfortable posingfor photos with the group’s leaders.


You can listen to the interview here: The History of the KKK in Oregon


Molalla fourth city hit by recruiting fliers for the Ku Klux Klan — November 17, 2015

Molalla fourth city hit by recruiting fliers for the Ku Klux Klan

MOLALLA – Police report that some Molalla residents awoke Sunday morning to find Ku Klux Klan recruiting fliers had been left at their homes.

The door-to-door effort is the fourth in recent weeks. Residents in West Linn, Gresham and Oregon City reported finding fliers at their homes earlier this month.

Molalla police said they have not identified anyone connected with the fliers and do not know whether it is a sharp-edged prank or a serious effort to attract members. The fliers showed up in the Big Meadow subdivision on the north side of the city.

Police Chief Rod Lucich said the fliers, while purporting to be from a known hate group, are a form protected free speech tucked into randomly tossed litter.

“Whereas the distribution of these fliers in any town may not be unlawful, they are a clear and present sign of prejudice and intolerance that I will not condone and I am certain the citizens of Molalla do not welcome,” Lucich said.

The fliers are identical to those distributed in West Linn, Gresham and Oregon City.

The first Ku Klux Klan was founded immediately after the Civil War to promote white supremacy and harass newly freed slaves. The KKK has been reorganized twice since. The current organization has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.

In 2004, neighborhoods in Tigard and Tualatin were hit by fliers recruiting for the Aryan Nations, a neo-Nazi organization that preaches white supremacy. After an investigation, police traced it to one man who was not affiliated with any groups, but who wanted to attract attention.

Anyone with information about the fliers is encouraged to call the Molalla Police Department at 503-929-8817.

— Rick Bella rbella@oregonian.com

503-294-5915; @southnewshound

Source: The Oregonian

About the CAHC —

About the CAHC

The Coalition Against Hate Crimes (CAHC) was started by the American Jewish Committee in Portland, Oregon. It held its first meeting in early October 1997. Its members are representatives from a wide variety of comm and government organizations. The Coalition and its members support non-violent solutions to the problem of hate and hate crimes in Oregon.

The CAHC works on three primary levels.

  1. Connecting community groups with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to improve the reporting of hate crimes and to aid in the investigation of hate crimes.
  2. Providing resources to victims of hate crimes and hate incidents, including information on neighborhood mediation and proper legal channels to report hate crimes.
  3. Educating the community about the disruptive nature of hate crimes and the community strengthening value of diversity.

The CAHC also tracks hate crimes and hate incidents as well as hate group activity in the state of Oregon.

MISSIONTo use the moral authority of the Coalition and its members to give expression to the community conscience as spelled out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.