Oregon

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Click a "Get Template" button to get an email template about a specific issue. Edit the template to connect on a more personal level with your lawmaker. See the Contacting Logistics page for information about how to write an effective email to your lawmakers. Get your lawmakers' emails with the search box to the right. Send the email!

Be sure to check out the Next Steps at the bottom of the page. Go to the References/Further Reading page to see our sources and do some research of your own.

Last updated March 5, 2020

Summary

Key:

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Legislation Achieved

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Some Progress

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No Progress

Demilitarization

Learn about demilitarization and the specific issues below on the Demilitarization page (opens in a new window).

 

No knock warrants

Achieved:

Oregon is one of only three states in America that have banned the use of no-knock warrants by police officers.

1033 purchases

No Progress:

Oregon has not yet enacted a law ending its participation in programs that facilitate the transfer of military weapons from the federal government to police departments. In 2014, Oregon law enforcement had access to over $10.7 million in military equipment.

NOTE: Some local departments have returned equipment in recent years, citing practicality concerns. In addition, requests for equipment in Oregon have often shifted from weaponry to vehicles, scopes, office supplies, etc.

Military style training

No Progress:

Oregon has not yet enacted a law refocusing training away from self-defense responses and towards community centered training like that offered by Blue Courage. A major component of the training focuses on self-defense. However, in the wake of George Floyd's murder, Governor Kate Brown (D) has committed to a review of the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training's (DPSST) standards for law enforcement training.

Pending Legislation: HB 2928, introduced in February 2021, limits the ability of law enforcement officers (or their proxies) to use kinetic impact devices, chemical incapacitants, and sound devices (aka rubber bullets, pepper spray, and Long Range Acoustic Devices). Though these measures do not explicitly address the militaristic mindset of policing, they do address the use of military-style tactics against community residents.

SWAT data

Some Progress:

While Oregon law does not explicitly require reporting on SWAT Team deployments, the state's requirement of use of force reporting under HB2355 would likely document the use of SWAT Teams to respond to calls.

For Profit Policing

Learn about for profit policing and the specific issues below on the For Profit Policing page (opens in a new window).

 

Civil asset forfeiture

Some Progress:

While civil asset forfeiture exists in Oregon, law enforcement cannot keep the seized property unless a criminal conviction is handed down. Only then can agencies use the seized funds/property to pad their budget. However, the burden of proof to reclaim the property lies with the citizen, not the department.

Quotas

No Progress:

Oregon has not yet enacted a law ending quotas for low-level arrests. While police departments in cities like Portland insist no quota system exists for ticketing, activists insist otherwise, citing the uncovering of secret quota systems in other cities like LA and NYC. Officially, however, quotas are not part of police department practices in Oregon.

Cost of misconduct

No Progress:

Oregon has not yet enacted a law requiring police departments (not state general funds) to cover the cost of misconduct.

Broken Windows Policing

Learn about broken windows policing and the specific issues below on the Broken Windows Policing page (opens in a new window).

 

Minor offenses

Some Progress:

Through Ballot Measure 110, Oregon voters decriminalized the personal possession of illegal drugs including cocaine, heroin, oxycodone and methamphetamine. The penalty for possession is now a $100 fine, which a person can avoid by agreeing to participate in a health assessment. Additionally, under Oregon law, jaywalking is not deemed an illegal activity. However, numerous other minor offenses remain criminalized in the state.

Pending Legislation: HB 2002, introduced in February 2021, "converts mandatory minimum sentences for specified felonies other than murder to presumptive
sentences and reduces presumptive sentences for certain crimes." It also requires officers to issue citations, rather than make arrests, for several non-violent misdemeanors and prohibits traffic stops based solely on violations like driving with a broken headlight or tail light.

Objective justification for stops

Some Progress:

A 2019 ruling by the Oregon Supreme Court bars law enforcement officials from using minor traffic violations to commence criminal inquiries. Officers are restricted to asking questions pertaining only to the traffic violation observed, rather than lines of questioning such as "are there any drugs in the vehicle, etc?" Another 2019 ruling by the Oregon Supreme Court deemed an officer's "hunch" insufficient to initiate a stop. Simply because an individual is present in a location associated with criminal activity does not constitute reasonable cause for their being detained and questioned.

Reporting stop details

Achieved:

In 2017, the Oregon Legislative Assembly passed HB 2355, requiring all law enforcement agencies beginning in 2021 to submit annual reports on traffic and pedestrian stops broken down by race, gender, and result of stop. In addition, the Oregon Department of Justice documents on its website use of force reports from across the state, and law enforcement agencies statewide are required to report uses of force to the DOJ.

Accountability

Learn about accountability and the specific issues below on the Accountability page (opens in a new window).

 

Reckless civil rights violation

No Progress:

Oregon has not yet enacted a law lowering the prosecution requirement from ‘willful’ to ‘reckless’ deprivation of another’s rights.

Independent investigation

No Progress:

Oregon has not yet enacted a law institutionalizing an independent prosecutor within the state’s Department of Justice for instances of police misconduct. House Bill 4201, passed in the June 2020 special session, creates a task force to "examine policies related to use of force and transparency in policing" including determining "the most appropriate policy for independent review of the use of deadly
force by police officers, including an analysis of procedures and policies used in other states" on or before December 31, 2020. Previous versions of the bill created an office of independent investigation under the Attorney General's Office, but those sections were not included in the final legislation.

Qualified immunity

No Progress:

Oregon has not yet enacted a law ending qualified immunity.

Reinvesting in Communities

Learn about reinvesting in communities and the specific issues below on the Reinvesting in Communities page (opens in a new window).

 

Mental health response

No Progress:

Oregon has not yet enacted a law creating and funding a mental health task force available to respond to crisis calls (in lieu of police). While no statewide law exists mandating the creation of these services in communities across Oregon, the city of Eugene established in 1989 the CAHOOTS program. Instead of having police officers respond to mental health-related 911 calls, teams of two (a medic and mental health counselor) are dispatched to handle a crisis an individual may be having. The CAHOOTS program has been a model for other cities across the country.

Education, Housing, Community Health Resources

No Progress:

It is important to note that policing does not address the roots of social disadvantage and barriers to (economic) opportunity that often lead to crime. Nor should police be burdened with that responsibility.
Without access to quality resources in healthcare, education, and housing, our cities, neighborhoods, and families will continue to suffer. We should instead reassess the budgets of the state government and reinvest in the services that matter most.

Next Steps

No matter what, register to vote:

Contacting officials is just one piece of the puzzle we can't stop there. We need to make sure our elected officials reflect our values and support reform at every level of government. Register here:

To keep these policies at the forefront:

Keep emailing about them (if you just finished the 5 Days Challenge, keep up the schedule—set reminders in your phone to email about each issue on its specific day).

To ask for more than this:

Use our templates as a model to ask for bigger changes. Color for Change and The Movement for Black Lives both have specific policy related to a reimagined law enforcement system. If you think there are additional policies we ought to consider, send your thoughts our way.

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