▶️ Bend looking at recommendations to combat bias incidents in the city


The City of Bend is looking closer at hate speech committed in the community. Bend wants a more organized path to find potential solutions to this problem.

“That is a huge step forward for us to say this is a problem in our community, and here’s how we are going to lead and how we are going to ensure that we stand up for people and community members and groups that are constantly being targeted for hate speech,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Megan Perkins.

The council heard a presentation Wednesday called Addressing Hate Speech and Discrimination in our Community.

“Our black, queer, Jewish, AAPI communities are not feeling safe. And when incidents are shared or reported, we are understanding that there are neither anomalies nor one-offs, but rather this is a persistent, consistent and all too common occurrence that occurs in our community,” said Accessibility & Equity Manager for the City of Bend, Cassandra Kehoe.

The presentation discussed specific incidents that have occurred in Central Oregon, as well as the differences between a hate crime and incident.

“We’re simply just grabbing the gaps of where PD has no jurisdiction for incidences of hate and saying there should be formalized process around this,” said Equity and Inclusion Director for the City of Bend, Andres Portela.

The Human Rights and Equity Commission for the City had four recommendations to help in setting up some guidelines.

The first is creating a coalition, and the second allows the city to issue formal responses to bias incidents.

“Moving it through the City of Bend website, the City of Bend being able to eyes with federal or state representatives or processes or to go to our nonprofit partners and then it goes to a coalition to say hate has no space in Bend,” said Portela.

The third recommendation is to develop a resource guide and the fourth includes safety plans.

The city is currently in the process of creating a web page and hotline.

“We’re working with our internal team, but then also potentially working with our regional coalition to say, should this be housed with the city of Bend, and so that’s what we’re going to be working towards, is figuring out how do we do this safe and effectively,” said Portela.


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