An Update on Portland Street Response

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By Joshua Baker

If you haven’t heard yet, “Portland Street Response,” the city-funded program launched in mid-February of 2021 in the Lents neighborhood, expanded to a broader area in east Portland in November and then went citywide on March 28 of this year! The program aims to reduce the number of behavioral health calls that police or fire officials respond to and instead send first responders who are better trained to de-escalate mental health episodes and care for clients during those moments of crisis. In the first year, the Portland Street Response team responded to more than 900 calls, which has led nine formerly unhoused individuals to receive help finding an apartment. 

No one was harmed during any incidents the team responded to and no one was arrested, the report said. The fact that none of the calls led to an arrest is significant, as 51% of unhoused people that Portland State interviewed said they did not feel safe calling 911 if they or someone else needed help. This percent was even higher for Black, Native American and multiracial individuals surveyed. Lloyd EcoDistrict is thrilled about the success of the project, and is excited that it is not available citywide, including in our very own Lloyd district! Read a full review of the report at this link.