Noose found at $295M Oregon high school construction site

Dive Brief:

  • Portland, Oregon-based Andersen Construction is offering a $10,000 reward for information that identifies anyone responsible for leaving a noose at the firm’s $295 million Benson Polytechnic High School modernization jobsite.
  • A trade partner worker discovered the noose Saturday, Aug. 13, according to an emailed statement from Andersen. The firm notified Portland Police and the FBI, it said.
  • Andersen held a stand down at the project Monday morning to inform all workers on the site, and provide options for support and reporting any information about the noose. It is also running an anonymous tip line at 1-844-950-2857.

Dive Insight:

Dozens of nooses have appeared at commercial construction sites across North America since George Floyd’s murder in 2020.

Most recently, three workers were fired from a Meta (formerly Facebook) jobsite in Redmond, Washington, after a Black worker encountered a noose with his name and missing tool taped to it.

That firing followed a termination at the $6.5 billion Uranium Processing Facility construction site at the federal Y-12 facility in Tennessee in July after tips from a $200,000 reward hotline connected the person to a noose discovered there in June.

“It is with a heavy heart, extreme disappointment and hurt that we are reporting the discovery of a noose on our Benson High School jobsite,” Andersen said in its statement. “Andersen Construction is committed to zero tolerance for acts of hate.”

While students admitted to placing a noose on the roof of the building in 2020, the school is currently closed to students for the modernization work, which includes 230,000 square feet of renovations and 135,000 square feet of new construction.

In 2021, the Oregon legislature explicitly made “intimidation by display of a noose” a crime.  

After spiking in 2020, the number of nooses reported on U.S. construction sites fell by about half to seven, according to data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. But that remains the same number of reported incidents as in 2018 and 2019.

During an EEOC hearing on discrimination and harassment in construction in May, EEOC Chair Charlotte Burrows said nooses on construction jobsites had become “chillingly common.”

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