Commissioner Hardesty discusses PSR on Rep. Blumenauer’s virtual town hall meeting

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer held a virtual town hall meeting with special guests U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty this afternoon at 4 p.m.  In a wide-ranging and lively conversation, many subjects were discussed, including the current protests against police violence and systemic racism. Listen to Commissioner Hardesty discussing Portland Street Response in the context of police reforms and reimagining public safety in the following Youtube video starting at 35:32.



TAKE ACTION! Petition City Council to increase funding for Portland Street Response

UPDATE  Jun 18: City Council approved the budget yesterday, including $4.8 million for Portland Street Response. Thank you to all who contacted City Council in our support!

News coverage of the vote:

Final statements from Commissioners before the vote:

Dear Street Roots community,

In our streets and across the nation, people are demanding that cities dismantle unjust police power. Here in Portland, timing is on our side to demand bold action because city council is set to vote on the proposed city budget this Wednesday (June 10th).

A few weeks ago, it was likely that we’d see the $246.2 million police budget roll forward.  But thanks to courageous demonstrators, the conversation has shifted.

We need you to take action and tell Mayor Wheeler and Commissioners Eudaly, Fritz and Hardesty that we need the budget to support a just vision of public safety.

Today, tomorrow and Tuesday, please ask them to fund Portland Street Response to move us away from police-based solutions.  

As is, city council is set to roll forward the one-time funding for a single pilot. But now is the time in which we demand that the city designate ongoing funds so multiple pilots can simultaneously run across the city – not just in one neighborhood – transforming into a city-wide program. We need to speed this up.  

In addition, Street Roots joins voices across the city to defund police programs that that perpetuate racist and militarized police practices. It is time to shut down the Gun Violence Reduction Team, the renamed Gang Enforcement program, which city auditors showed severely over-policed Black Portlanders. Here is a list of demands from Unite Oregon and Portland African American Leadership Forum.

Please make your voices heard with city council over the next few days. Let’s get loud …  and fund what moves us toward a more just city.

Kaia Sand
Executive Director

Contact information for your city council:

Mayor Ted Wheeler

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly

Commissioner Amanda Fritz

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty

Suggested email text:

Subject: Please increase funding for Portland Street Response

Please increase funding for Portland Street Response in the proposed budget that will be voted on this Wednesday, June 10th. In our streets and across the nation, people are demanding that cities support a just vision of public safety. PSR is a great first step to move us away from police-based solutions. Please designate 4.8 million dollars in on-going funds so multiple PSR pilots can simultaneously run across the city – not just in one neighborhood. We need to speed this up.


We did it!

View this overview video of Portland Street Response, presented to City Council today

Dear Street Roots supporters,

I am so happy to share with all of you that a pilot version of the Portland Street Response was approved by Portland city council this afternoon! From the moment Street Roots presented the plan in our March 15 issue, we’ve been committed to seeing this happen. Street Roots vendors have been involved the entire campaign: speaking at a budget forum, surveying other unhoused people, and even judging the Portland Street Response logo contest.

Today was a very big day. After more than a century, Portland is making a significant change to our first responder system. Portland Street Response is proposed as a third branch of our city’s first responder system, joining fire and police.

The pilot team will be composed of a medic and a crisis worker, dispatched by 911 in the Lents Neighborhood beginning this spring, and over the course of about the year, the city can refine the plan.

This video, presented to council today, gives an overview of Portland Street Response.

Thank you, everyone, for endorsing (there’s still time to add your name; we’ll soon be gearing up to campaign for the full-fledged Portland Street Response program to be implemented, big enough, and nimble enough, to really help unhoused people in crisis).

And if you would like to contribute to our ongoing efforts, that bolsters our ongoing advocacy to better the lives of people who are unhoused, such as our work on the Portland Street Response.

Today we celebrate. Tomorrow, onward we go … together!

Kaia Sand
Executive Director, Street Roots


More information:

Pictures from the Council meeting:

Important milestone this Thursday

Dear Street Roots supporters,

This Thursday, Nov. 21, the Mayor and Commissioners will receive a 90-minute report detailing the work and progress that has gone into developing the Portland Street Response. Should they vote to accept the report and recommendations, a Portland Street Response pilot can hit the ground in January.

This is an important milestone! Let’s pack City Hall to show council that we need the right response to the right call at the right time. We need a modern 1st responder system that responds with compassion to those in crisis.

The public meeting begins at 2 p.m. Please note that public testimony is not accepted for reports.

If you haven’t yet endorsed the Portland Street Response, endorse now and your name will be included in the list presented to council on Nov. 21st.

This has been an extraordinary journey so far, and we are proud of the role played by Street Roots’ newspaper, vendors and advocacy – an effort that emerges out of our 20-year history.

Hope to see you Thursday at City Hall, and onward we go!

Kaia Sand
Executive Director, Street Roots

We Have Winners!

Congratulations to the winners of the Portland Street Response logo design contest:

Ryan Mikesell Brittany Stewart Jill Domine

The contest was judged by a panel of three Street Roots vendors, one staff member from Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office and one staff member from Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty’s office.

The top three entries were selected out of 50 entries. The City of Portland is now seeking a graphic designer to create an official logo and brand guide, inspired by these ideas.

Here are pictures of the judges, hard at work:

Community and business leaders rally around PSR

City officials, community organizations and businesses came together at City Hall on Thursday, November 14, for a press conference to affirm support for Portland Street Response.

The following speakers addressed the media:

  • Mayor Ted Wheeler
  • Commissioner Chloe Eudaly
  • Ashley Henry, Executive Director, Business for a Better Portland
  • Kina Voelz, Co-owner, Noraneko
  • Will Rasmussen, Government Relations, Executive Committee Chair, Portland Business Alliance
  • Helen Ying, Chair, Old Town Community Association
  • Adam Lyons, Executive Director, Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods
  • Iden Campbell, Racial Justice and Transgender Justice Program Director, Basic Rights Oregon
  • Nick Sauvie, Executive Director, ROSE Community Development
  • Darren Golden, Policy Specialist, Urban League
  • Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty

[Note some of the entries to our logo contest in the background, behind the podium. The winner will be announced Friday, Nov. 15.]

Here are links to media coverage of the event. More will be posted here as they are published;  reload this page to see any new additions.

Believe Our Stories and Listen

On September 19, 2019, the Portland Street Response Community Outreach workgroup released “Believe Our Stories & Listen,” a report from surveying 184 people experiencing homelessness to inform the design of the Portland Street Response. 

The report is a collaboration with Mapping Action Collective, Portland State University Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative, Right 2 Survive, Sisters of the Road, Street Books, Street Roots and Yellow Brick Road.

Read about the survey here.

Read the report itself here.

Oregon Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer and Street Roots vendor Mode team up to interview people experiencing homelessness to help inform the design of the Portland Street Response pilot project. (Photo by Katalina Berbari)

Portland Street Response pilot design

A lot has happened since Street Roots put forward the Portland Street Response plan, for non-police first responders to address street crises, in our March 15 issue. 

Many of you – Street Roots readers, Street Roots vendors – wrote letters to Council, turned out at budget hearings and endorsed the plan at (where you still can add your voice). I’ve been invited into conversations with neighborhood associations and faith communities and businesses and neighborhood organizations. The enthusiasm for a new, constructive system is thorough-going in this city. 

And City Council showed they heard all your voices, allotting $500,000 toward developing a Portland Street Response pilot in the budget that began July 1. 

Hardesty’s staff, in collaboration with Mayor Ted Wheeler’s staff, is charged with moving the pilot design process forward and bringing a plan to Council by this November.

Street Roots is actively advocating first and foremost for unhoused people to have a voice in this design process. (read more)

Tips for writing letters in support of Portland Street Response

  • State your name and your organization (or your neighborhood);
  • If relevant, share a little bit about your organization and your mission. Who do you serve? Or perhaps this is a time to write from the perspective of your neighborhood.

  • Why does the issue of non-police first response matter to you?
    -Is it because of the high arrests of unhoused people?
    -How legal entanglements drive people deeper into poverty, including creating barriers to housing and employment?
    -How the 911 system is bogged down with calls about non-criminal matters, including a so-called unwanted person call every 15 minutes?
    -How, as the Portland Police Bureau’s Strategic Insights Report showed, the public overwhelmingly distrusts police and is beleaguered by slow response time? 

  • Describe how the city needs to develop a Portland Street Response, a new system of first responders. Here are some possible areas to emphasize:
    – The plan proposes six teams of medics and peer support specialists with training in de-escalation who can respond with compassion to 911 calls about people struggling with homelessness and behavioral health crises. 
    -Not every crisis is a crime. We need to match the right first responder to the crisis.
    -The Portland Street Response is based on the 30-year-old CAHOOTS model in Eugene.
    -Based on discussions with Bureau of Emergency Communications, Street Roots estimates that six 24-hour-teams-of-two (a medic and a peer support specialist crisis worker) could meet our demand.
    -Portland Street Response needs to be a big effort. It’s only if people all across the city can recognize it can it be seen as an actual alternative.
    -We need to make this easy for residents of the city to feel the impact.
    -The teams must be highly trained in crisis response, and CAHOOTS can help with this training.

  • Do you have a personal story that matters to this issue?

  • Thank the Mayor and Commissioners for budgeting the pilot, and let them know this needs to be a city priority for full funding. 

  • Thank the Mayor and Commissioners for their time.