Will policy reform come from Oregon protests?

MEDFORD, Ore. – Demonstrations and protests continue in cities around the nation, some protesters are demanding policy changes.

A week after George Floyd’s death, anger and disgust is still very present across America. In Oregon, politicians are calling for change.

“This may be a turning point where governments, people, communities all over the country are saying we can’t do it like this anymore,” said Democrat State Sen. Jeff Golden.

Oregon state legislators created a People of Color Caucus this week, also known as the POC Caucus. It’s goal, to take the lead in forming polices to address discrimination in the state.

“Bad apples often spoil because of the way they’re packed — the environment they’re placed in. The mold that’s already there,” said Democrat State Sen. Lew Frederick.

Though the POC Caucus’ work is still being discussed, options include looking into police training, and increasing the accountability of officers.

“We have disparities and racism that are built into all parts of government, all parts of our culture, all institutions. And the time is now to take action,” said Democrat State Rep. Pam Marsh.

While nationally, politicians seem divided about taking action in the wake of Floyd’s death, Oregon state legislators say this is a bi-partisan issue.

“None of us want to see anything like what happened to George Floyd happen in Oregon.”

Republican State Rep. Duane Stark wasn’t available to interview Wednesday. He told NBC5 he hasn’t met with the People of Color Caucus yet, but looks forward to making progress for Oregon.

Meanwhile, the City of Medford released a statement Wednesday saying it stands in solidarity with people who share the same values of equality and compassion. However, the Medford City Council has not held any public meetings since Floyd’s death to talk about any sort of policy reform.

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