HILLSBORO, Ore- On November 14, 2023, Washington County agreed to accept $300,000 in additional grant funds awarded to the DA’s Office from the United States Department of Justice (US DOJ) under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Program Grant. This is a competitive grant award intended to increase the capacity of state and local prosecution offices to combat bias crime in their communities. 

The Washington County DA’s Office was awarded an initial $300,000 from this grant in October 2021. That original funding allowed the DA’s Office to launch a Washington County Bias Crime Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) and support victim advocate positions dedicated to serving bias crime victims. The MDT has since been working collaboratively with local law enforcement and community partners to develop strategies to reduce hate crime. These strategies involve trainings, education, and outreach efforts. However, the MDT recognizes the pressing need to increase public attention to this important issue. 

In September 2023, based on the early success of the bias crime MDT, the DA’s Office was invited to apply for additional funding from US DOJ to expand its work. With this added funding, the DA’s Office will enhance its public engagement and education efforts by hiring an outreach coordinator. This coordinator will work with the MDT to implement outreach and education efforts in our community aimed at bias crime prevention. 

“We are pleased to accept this additional grant funding that will allow us to increase our efforts to combat bias and hate crimes in our community,” said District Attorney Kevin Barton.  “These additional resources come at a time when we need to do all we can to ensure everyone in our community feels safe and protected.”

The MDT recently hosted the inaugural Washington County Bias Crime Symposium. This specialized training brought together more than 50 members of various law enforcement agencies and community organizations to learn about the most effective ways to promote bias crime intervention and response. This is just one example of this grant funding at work in an effort to improve community safety. 

Media contact information
Stephen Mayer
Public Information Officer
November 16, 2023