PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Hate crime reports have doubled in Oregon over the past five years, according to the Portland Division of the FBI. However, the agency says hate crimes are still underreported — which is why officials are pushing residents to speak out.

FBI Portland's ad encouraging hate crime reports at PDX airport
FBI Portland’s ad encouraging hate crime reports at PDX airport. (Courtesy FBI Portland)

On Nov. 6, FBI Portland posted billboards and digital displays across Medford, Eugene, Corvallis, and the Portland International Airport to encourage Oregonians to submit tips on hate crimes.

Several FBI offices have launched similar campaigns, with advertising billboards placed in cities like Newark, N.J., Charlotte, N.C., and Pittsburgh, Penn.

The FBI defines hate crimes as any criminal offense that’s partially or fully motivated by the offender’s biases against a race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexuality, gender, or gender identity.

In 2022, FBI Portland said there were 290 single-bias crimes reported statewide. That’s just a small increase from the 287 hate crimes recorded in 2021, but more than twice the 120 bias crimes reported in 2018.

About 60% of the hate crimes reported in Oregon were committed by offenders with biases against a certain race, ethnicity, or ancestry. According to FBI Portland, victims who were perceived as Black were targeted the most often.

The agency additionally said religion was the bias motivator in 10% of cases, with victims who were perceived as Jewish being the most common target. Sexual orientation was the bias motivation for 18% of the reported incidents.

In a statement, FBI Portland Special Agent in Charge Kieran Ramsey said violent hate crimes are “unacceptable” in Oregon communities.

“The FBI serves to safeguard against hate and violence, but we can only do so if we know about any such threats or violent actions,” Ramsey said. “Every person has the right to live without fear of violence or intimidation. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to hold those accountable whose hate-filled aggression violates the civil rights of others.”

The advertising campaign can be seen on 5th Avenue in Eugene and Highway 34 in Corvallis. In Medford, billboards were placed on Bullock Road, Table Rock Road, Lawnsdale Road and Bank Road.

PDX travelers will see digital ads on the concourse maps, as well as a print ad at baggage claim No. 7.