HILLSBORO, Ore.- The Washington County District Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting all members of the community equally. This office prosecutes felony crimes in the county, including bias and hate crimes. Hate crime is on the rise not just nationally, but in Oregon as well. There has been a significant increase in hate crime case referrals from law enforcement to this office over the past two years. To better serve the victims of these crimes and to hold offenders accountable, this office has applied for $300,000 in grant funding.

If awarded, the funding, provided by the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Program Grant administered by the United States Department of Justice, will enable this office to launch a new Bias Crime Multidisciplinary Team (MDT). The MDT will be 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. Additionally, this grant funding will also enable this office to fund victim advocate positions dedicated to serving bias crimes victims. 

Senior Deputy District Attorney Allison Brown will chair the MDT and will work closely with local law enforcement agencies and community partners to combat bias crime in Washington County. SDDA Brown has extensive experience prosecuting these cases and says this grant funding is key to protecting public safety.

“While there are specialized advocates assigned to support vulnerable victims of other types of crimes like child abuse, elder abuse, or sexual assault, there are no specialized advocates for bias crime victims. Having specialized support for bias crime victims will better address the complex needs these crime victims face and enable more effective prosecutions by providing culturally specific engagement,” SDDA Brown said. 

Washington County is the most diverse county in the state. District Attorney Kevin Barton hopes this development sends a strong message to historically marginalized groups in this community. 

“People have a right to live, work and raise a family in safety. And an essential aspect of being safe is feeling safe. Ensuring that our public safety system responds to hate and bias crimes to protect the safety of all of our diverse Washington County residents is critical,” said DA Barton.

If awarded, the grant funding will allow this office to staff these new positions for a duration of three years. If this office is approved for the grant, recruitment will begin shortly thereafter. Interested applicants can learn more by visiting our website

This office wishes to thank the following agencies and organizations for their support in this endeavor: the Washington County Law Enforcement Council, the Washington County Family Justice Center, the Sexual Assault Resource Center, El Programa Hispano Catolico, African Youth and Community Organization, Lutheran Community Services Northwest, and Immigration and Refugee Community Organization. 

Media contact information
Stephen Mayer
Public Information Officer
August 18, 2021