No Record on Race

Data gaps throughout Oregon make it tough to understand when and why people are stopped by police. This visualization demonstrates which police departments are collecting the information about who their officers are stopping – and which aren’t.

LISTEN: Ron Louie

The Chief: Ron Louie, retired chief of the Hillsboro Police Department, was the state’s first official to collect data about the race and ethnicity of drivers his officers stopped. Other agencies, he said, were “frightened by the scrutiny of the numbers.”

Stopping the data

Fewer than 1-in-20  law enforcement agencies in Oregon collect and report detailed data on  the people they stop. This month, legislators will begin discussions on House Bill 2355, which, among other things, would force  police to  collect “stop data.”  If the bill passes, Oregon will join 19 other states, including California, in using stop data to identify possible racial profiling by police.

Discrimination by name

Oregon, in 1859, was the only state admitted to the union of 33 with a constitutional ban on black immigrants. More than 100 years later, the state’s racist history continues to impact the relationship between the black community and the criminal justice system.

Outlawing bias

In 1994, a sprawling task force led by the Oregon Supreme Court developed 72 recommendations for reducing disparities in the criminal justice system. Most bills targeting reform in the Oregon Legislature failed. New bills target police profiling and drug decriminalization in 2017 – does Oregon have the political will to pass them?

Justice disparate by race in Oregon

A project in Oregon parsed more than 5.5 million court records to find that equal justice remains an elusive goal for the state’s more than 650,000 black and Latino residents. Upon hearing the findings, the state senate’s president, Peter Courtney, called them “alarming” while Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, who is leading legislative reforms on police profiling, called it “embarrassing” that reporters were first to analyze the state’s data.