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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Portland Street Response needs a logo. In our survey of 184 unhoused people this past summer, many respondents emphasized that Portland Street Responders should have colored shirts and/or uniforms that are clearly distinguished from other first responders. So a new look is essential to gaining trust and de-escalating crisis situations.
In order to tap into the creativity of Portlanders, housed and unhoused alike, we are asking for your ideas of a logo design. Send us your suggestion and if it is selected by our judges, you will win a cash prize! This logo contest starts, Friday Oct. 25 and ends Monday Nov. 11. The winners will be announced in the Friday, Nov. 15, edition of Street Roots.
There is an entry form with more information on the back page of the Oct. 25-31 issue of Street Roots. You can also download a PDF of the entry form from here.
Read more from Street Roots Executive Director Kaia Sand about the logo design contest here.
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.
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 portlandstreetresponse.org (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)
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.
If you are looking for the City of Portland's official Street Response program