PORTLAND, Ore. -- Veranda Ocampo has seen graffiti outside the Ash Street Courtyard Apartments before, but never like the display she found this week. She's surprised to see a blatant message of hate in the 21st century.
“It’s unfortunate, it is sad,” she said. “That that is still going around that people are still writing stuff like that.”
Executive Director of Unite Oregon, Kayce Jama, says it's not surprising and a trend that is on the rise.
“Prior to the election and after,” he said. “We have seen a rise in hate activity.”
Jama says despite President Trump's recent denouncement of hate crimes, he believes the president's immigration policies and tough talk unleashed hate and intimidation across the country.
His group and others are working with the city to launch a program that tracks, analyzes and responds to incidents like the graffiti at the Ash Street Courtyard Apartments.
“Have a dialogue about it. Why is it happening? Who is it happening to? Then really say 'no. Not in our city, not in our neighborhood, not in our state.'”
Jama says the program will be called Portland United Against Hate. Ocampo says it sounds like a good idea.
“I don't understand it, maybe I never will. But maybe we can come together as a community and better protect our community.”
Unite Oregon, other community groups, and the Office of Neighborhood Involvement has asked for nearly $500,000 to launch the program.