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Oregon Lawmakers Advance Measure To Create Anonymous School Threat Tip Line

Chris Phan

The Oregon House approved a measure Thursday that would create a statewide tip line to report threats against schools. The idea is that in some cases, someone who intends to do harm tells a friend or relative ahead of time.

Democratic Representative Ann Lininger said the tip line would give that person a way to report their concerns anonymously.

"What this bill does is set up a way that we can help find out what people are thinking about, so that if there's going to be an incidence of violence we can step in and intervene before something bad happens,” Lininger said.

The tip line is expected to cost the state about $1 million per year to operate. It's the second try for a school safety tip line in Oregon. A previous version was created in 2004 but was soon discontinued when a federal grant ran out.

The earlier tip line was operated by the Oregon Department of Justice. The new tip line would be operated by the Oregon State Police. It would be funded at least through the end of the current budget cycle in June of 2017 if the bill is signed into law. The measure would allow the Oregon State Police to solicit funds "from any source" to operate the tip line in the future.

The bill would also make it a crime to knowingly make a false report of a threat to the tip line. It passed the Oregon House 58-to-0 and now heads to the Senate.

Copyright 2016 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman covers the Oregon state capitol for JPR as part of the Northwest News Network, a group of 12 Northwest public radio organizations which collaborate on regional news coverage. Chris graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He began his career producing arts features for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana and has been a reporter/announcer for NPR station WNIJ in DeKalb, Illinois. Chris has also reported from overseas, filing stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda.
Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.