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Portland to End Gang Designation Because It Disproportionately Affects Minorities

People who have claimed membership in a gang, but have not committed criminal acts will have their names removed from a gang designation list run by the Portland Police Bureau.

The Portland Police Bureau says that being on the list of “criminal gang affiliates” creates a stigma:

“… [B]eing labeled a “gang member” can have a negative impact on the person who may be making attempts to overcome the life challenges they face. Today, new processes and technologies allow police to investigate crimes in a manner that our community supports and that will not have the unintended consequences of potentially harming those who may need services and help the most.”

Starting in October, the Bureau will purge the list it started more than 20 years ago after meetings with community leaders and members of the “Community Peace Collaborative,” the Oregonian reported.

According to the Seattle Times, the latest U.S. census shows that Portland is the whitest city in America at 72%.

The fact that 81% of the gang members on the list are minorities, according to an Oregonian analysis, suggest that minorities join or hang out with gangs at a disproportionately high numbers. Activists believe minorities are on the list due to profiling.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced that the decision to purge the list of “criminal gang affiliates” is “too long coming.”

Wheeler, who doubles as the police commissioner, said, “it was the right thing to do.”

Robert Richardson, a former pastor, told KPTV that it’s a “great decision”:

“It’s just another barrier to the re-entry components that we have to deal with. Renting processes, all those things are a factor when you’ve been notorized [sic] as a gang member.”

Gang shootings were down 25% in Portland from last year, according to The Oregonian.