Thousands of convicted sex offenders in Oregon not properly registered due to years-long backlog

The Board of Parole claimed that it will miss its new December 1, 2026 deadline to classify the remaining 20,825 unclassified offenders as of last July, out of 32,790 sex offenders in Oregon.

The state agency in Oregon responsible for classifying sex offenders will miss another deadline to classify every offender unless lawmakers give them more money and staff, according to a new report.

KATU discovered that in 2013, the legislature gave the state parole board 3 years to classify sex offenders already in the registry. 10 years later that still has not been done. Thousands of sex offenders living in the state remain without a classification level.

According to the outlet, the Board of Parole is responsible for classifying sex offenders by their risk to re-offend on a scale from 1 to 3, but the investigation revealed thousands who have no level which means they could be living anywhere and the state is unable to assess their risk of committing a new offense.

The Parole Board’s executive director said it has kept up with classifying every offender who was designated as predatory or sexually violent dangerous offenders who are released from prison or who move into the state.

However, the Board of Parole claimed that due to its current staffing, it will miss its new December 1, 2026 deadline to classify the remaining offenders which, according to a budget document filed with the legislature last month, is 20,825 unclassified offenders as of last July, out of 32,790 sex offenders in Oregon.

With the agency classifying 170 offenders a month, it would take over 10 years to clear the backlog.

State Senator Cedric Hayden told the outlet, "What’s really disappointing to me is they have the opportunity in this budget process to ask for a policy option package. We call it a POP, but it's a policy option package where they're telling us we probably need 30 [full-time positions] to accomplish this by the deadline, but they're not even asking for funding for it. We're actually working on amending their budget so that we can drive an additional $6 million for personnel to catch this up."

State lawmakers can decide to give the parole board more money in order to hit the target deadline. Hayden noted that Oregonians have a need to know how dangerous a sex offender is if and when they decide where to live.

Hayden voted three times against extending the deadline in prior sessions and told KATU, "Is it acceptable for the parole board to miss their deadline again?"

"No, I don't find that acceptable," He added. "Really, our only avenue is to go out and talk to Oregonians and say, ‘contact your lawmaker. Don't let them extend that anymore. Stand up to this and say, ‘this is important for our communities.’"

Governor Tina Kotek’s office said in a statement that she is "frustrated" and "believes that Oregonians should be safe and feel safe. She is committed to ensuring accountability for those who commit harm in our communities. This backlog is clearly unacceptable." Kotek’s office said in a statement.

Kotek "…is now requesting that the board reevaluate what funding and/or statutory changes it needs to fulfill its obligation to classify all sex offenders and will urge the legislature to support those changes in this legislative session."

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