Wide coalition of business, community, and non-profits declare support for Portland Street Response

Press Release

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty will bring together businesses, neighborhood groups, elected officials, and advocates for a press conference on November 14 – one week before recommendations for the Portland Street Response pilot logistics and implementation go to council.

Representatives from the business, neighborhood, nonprofits, and advocates speaking include:

Will Rasmussen, Government Relations Executive Committee Chair, Portland Business Alliance

Ashley Henry, Executive Director, Business for a Better Portland

Kina Voelz, co-owner, Noraneko

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

Julia Delgado, Vice President, Urban League

So far, over 350 individuals, businesses, organizations, and electeds have endorsed the Portland Street Response.

Andrew Hoan, president & CEO, Portland Business Alliance says, “The Portland Business Alliance commends Commissioner Hardesty, Mayor Wheeler and the City Council for their leadership in advancing Portland Street Response from an idea into policy. This is a thoughtful policy strategy for helping our most vulnerable citizens find better access to services through appropriate first response to non-criminal behavior by unsheltered individuals.”

Helen Ying, Old Town Community Association Chair says, "We know if we continue to do the same thing the same way, we will get the same results. Having the appropriate people as first responders and getting people to the “right” services will yield results far better than what we have today. The Old Town Community applauds the City for taking steps in implementing the Portland Street Response pilot program."

Iden Campbell, Basic Rights Oregon’s Racial Justice and Transgender Justice Program Director say, “As Portlanders, we deserve a response that is culturally specific, trauma-informed, and compassionate.  I believe Portland Street Response will offer that to our city’s most vulnerable.”

Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly are scheduled to speak at the press conference in support of Portland Street Response as well. 

“I am proud of both the proposed pilot as well as the process we went through to develop it,” says Commissioner Hardesty. She continues, “Between our 40-person multijurisdictional work group, listening sessions, surveys with the houseless community, businesses, neighborhood associations, and service providers, we wanted to be sure everyone was brought to the table so that we came out with the best pilot possible – and I’m hopeful we’ve done just that.”

Portland Street Response sets out to modernize Portland’s first responder system by adding a new branch of first responders to address low-acuity, non-emergency calls. This new branch of first responders are trained in behavioral health-related crisis intervention and first aid and will respond to 9-1-1 requests related to a behavioral health crisis or people experiencing houselessness that do not require police, fire, or ambulatory services.

City Council is set to hear and discuss the report and recommendations during council session on November 21, at 2pm.

WHEN: Thursday, November 14, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

WHERE:  City Hall Atrium, 1221 SW 4th Ave