Turning the tide

Americans – along with Europeans – account for 2/3 of world imports of seafood. Here we describe America’s battleplan for keeping seafood legal in the U.S. and helping American consumers avoid being a driver of the $23 billion annual market for illegal seafood.

Black riders face stiffest transit penalty at rates more than six times that of whites

Black riders face stiffest transit penalty: A study of fare enforcement on TriMet found no disparities last year. But that study didn’t take into account data that show police assigned exclusively to TriMet charge black transit riders with interfering with public transit – a misdemeanor on par with drunk driving – at rates at least 6.4 times those of white riders.

Six bills look to transform transparency in Oregon

Well, we’ve finally arrived. Transparency season in the Oregon Legislature. Hard to know where it all will lead, but the fact that we got here – and with more proposals in favor of transparency than against it – is at least a good sign for Oregon. Here’s my summary of what’s on the menu, along with the state of the union for each proposal:
Senate Bill 481: This is the offspring of the Attorney General’s Public Records Task Force. It’s potentially the heaviest hitting piece of legislation on the table.

The power of the prosecutor

Data shows prosecutors don’t introduce new racial disparities to the criminal justice system in Multnomah County, but they also don’t reduce them either – not yet. New information shows prosecutors may be on a path to doing so. And that they perhaps have rich opportunity to solve problems when other parts of the system fall short.

Is it a business to report on racial disparities?

It cost $2,400 to buy the Unequal Justice series. That’s not pay for the reporters or photographers. That’s not the cost of editing and distributing the work, either. That’s just the cost to buy the story from the Oregon Judicial Department, which controls the bulk data that underpins the Oregon eCourt Case Information – the database a reporter analyzed to uncover the disparities reported in the series. It’s also something for which the Oregon Judicial Department charges money.

Unequal Justice project weds teamwork with big numbers

I’m tickled that I finally get to write about the Unequal Justice series collaboration today, one of our most ambitious partnerships to date and, certainly, the largest data project InvestigateWest has ever been involved with. I love this project. Mostly because it combines the two things that we do best at IW’s Oregon shop: drill down on numbers and work with our media partners. I alluded to its impending release back in September, in my note about the strength of collaboration, and again in October when I wrote to you about the power of data in journalism. Now I get to dish the backstory.

The high costs of disparities for people of color in Multnomah County

An analysis of more than a decade of court records in Oregon found that African-Americans paid $21.5 million more than whites for committing the same crimes. The finding proves there’s more than just police profiling at work in a system that treats African-Americans more harshly than whites, but police practices remain a factor in overcharging.

Riding along with the Portland Police Bureau

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This month, I offer a behind-the-scenes look at a very snowy ride with Officer Kevin Allen of the Portland Police Bureau. As luck would have it, it was Jan. 10 when the bureau set me up for a ride-along with Officer Allen. The Portland native ended up being my tour guide during one of the biggest snowstorms the city has seen in two decades.