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Washington County Bias Crimes Program

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $300,000)

Hate crime is a national crisis.  Hate crime is on the rise both nationally and in the State of Oregon.  Washington County is the second most populous county in Oregon with approximately 620,080 residents within its 726 square mile borders.  In recent years, the county has seen an increase in size and diversity, as well as an increase in hate crime.[1]  From 2010-2019, the county’s population increased by 13.5% compared to the national average of 6.3%.[2]  Consequently, in the last two years, the Washington County District Attorney’s Office (WCDA) has seen a significant increase (63%) in hate crime case referrals from law enforcement.  As such, the WCDA is applying for funding to combat hate crime in Washington County. 

The WCDA is responsible for prosecuting all felony crimes and most misdemeanor crimes in Washington County.  The office has 42 prosecutors and 9 victim advocates.  As bias crime has increased, the office has focused on strengthening its bias crime prosecutions.  The office has developed a bias crime team of prosecutors assigned to these cases.  In addition, the team has organized multiple trainings and community events in the last year to educate law enforcement and the community on issues related to bias crime.  However, the office has identified gaps in its efforts to prosecute these cases.  Currently, the office has no victim advocates specially assigned to these cases, nor does it have any bias crime-specific programs for offenders and crime victims.  In addition, the WCDA has experienced recent budget cuts that have impacted its victim advocate positions. 

The WCDA will use the funding from this grant to support a victim advocacy position(s) for bias crime victims.  This advocate will support the complex needs of these crime victims.  In addition, the WCDA will use a portion of these funds to support a coordinator and implement a Bias Crime Multidisciplinary Team (MDT), comprised of members from law enforcement agencies and community partner organizations.  The team will meet regularly to discuss and implement strategies to combat bias crime, including trainings, education, and outreach events.  The MDT will be led by a prosecutor and coordinator with experience involving vulnerable victims.  This effort has received support from all the law enforcement agencies in Washington County as well as multiple community partners as documented in the letters of support.  The WCDA requests $300,000 to fund these positions ($100,000 annually). 


[1] Oregon law defines hate crime as “bias crime.”

[2] https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/map/washingtoncountyoregon/PST12…

Date Created: October 28, 2021