LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Oregon Senate passes bill making it a crime to display a noose

The Oregon State Capitol canceled a Cherry Blossom Festival scheduled in March due to COVID-19. (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter) 

On Thursday, the Oregon Senate passed a bill that will create consequences for people who display a symbol long associated with racist intimidation. 

THE ISSUE: Displaying a noose has long been used to harass or intimidate people of color, particularly Black people. 

THE BILL: Senate Bill 398 

WHAT IT DOES: Makes it a crime to display a noose in a public or private place, causing someone to be reasonably intimidated or fear bodily harm. The act would be classified as a crime of intimidation, a hate crime under Oregon law. Those convicted under the bill could face penalties of up to a year imprisonment, a $6,250 fine or both. 

WHY IT WAS PROPOSED: There have been reported acts of racially motivated intimidation and harassment (including displaying nooses) in Oregon and elsewhere. Louisiana, Virginia, California, New York, Maryland and Connecticut have already made it a crime to display a noose.  


Sen. Brian Boquist, I-Dallas: Excused

Sen. Peter Courtney, D-Salem: Yes

Sen. Fred Girod, R-Lyons: Yes

Sen. Deb Patterson, D-Salem: Yes

Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer: Yes

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: The bill moves to the Oregon House for consideration.

-Jake Thomas