Memorial Day closure

Most City of Portland offices will be closed Monday, May 27, in observance of Memorial Day.

BHU Advisory Committee Members

Members icon

Beth Epps Committee Chair, Cascadia Behavioral Health
Janie GullicksonMental Health & Addictions Association of Oregon
Melanie PayneBureau Of Emergency Communications
Barbara SnowCrisis Manager, Mult Co Mental Health & Addiction Services
Darion Jones Constituent Relations Coordinator & Policy Advisor, Commissioner Ryan’s Office
Emily Rochon Service Coordination Team
Joseph WestoverMetropolitan Public Defender
Melissa EcksteinPresident, Unity Center for Behavioral Health
Stephanie LaCarrubbaMultnomah County Sheriff's Office
William OsborneOregon Health Authority
Felisia Otis

Volunteers of America

Juliana WallaceSenior Director of Mental Health and Culturally Specific Service, Central City Concern  
Donald MeyersOperations Supervisor, American Medical Response (AMR)
Barb. RainishFreelance Advocate
Cassi SturtzCARE OR
Deandre Kenyanjui

Consumer Engagement Coordinator - Multnomah County

Emily Cooper

Disability Rights Oregon (DRO)

Claire Beatus

Central City Concern

Christopher Burley
Lieutenant – Portland Police Bureau’s Behavioral Health Unit (BHU)

Christopher Burley serves as the supervisor for the PPB’s BHU. Chris joined the Bureau in August of 2005 and worked multiple assignments, including time as an officer in what at the time was called the Mobile Crisis Unit (MCU) and today is the Behavioral Health Unit (BHU). Chris has also been assigned to East and North Precincts, the Tactical Operations Division/ Specialized Resources Division and the Chief’s Office as the Public Information Officer.  Most recently Chris was the team leader for the Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT).

Prior to his career in law enforcement, Chris graduated from the University of Portland with a BS in Education.  He was an educator of science and math at a high school near Chicago, IL before joining PPB.

Chris was a board member for Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare and currently serves on the board of directors for the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Multnomah.

Chris looks forward to being a member of an interdisciplinary unit serving some of the most vulnerable community members in Portland. He appreciates the insight, experience and different points of view of the members of the BHUAC and looks forward to creating a better Police Bureau based on the input of BHUAC members.

Beth Epps
Chief Community Solutions Officer, Cascadia Health

Beth moved to Oregon in 2014 and joined Cascadia Health. She serves on Cascadia’s executive team and provides leadership for its broad array of behavioral and integrated programs for individuals with mental health and addiction challenges, to include community, clinic, and other site-based services with special focus on county-wide crisis, forensic needs, residential services, a full PSRB continuum, and services and supports provided by Peer Providers.

Prior to Cascadia, Beth worked five years for Optum, a managed care organization, developing and managing public sector behavioral health projects across the nation.  Preceding her work in managed care, Beth served as Executive Director for Adapt of Texas, a Specialty Behavioral Health Provider Network in the Dallas area.

Beth’s earlier work in the behavioral health field embraced an array of psychosocial activities including supported employment and work programs, supported housing, homeless services, clubhouse development and management, and community support programs. Prior to her behavioral health work, she served in various roles supporting adults with intellectual disabilities.

Beth holds a Master of Education degree and, as a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner, is a strong advocate for the wellbeing of those who experience behavioral health challenges. In addition to her professional experience, Beth has a close family member that uses behavioral health supports provided by Oregon Health Plan providers.

Beth has served on the BHUAC since May of 2015 and currently is in the role of Chairperson since January of 2023.

Melissa L. Eckstein
Legacy Health System - Unity Center for Behavioral Health, President

Ms. Eckstein joined Legacy Health System in September 2019 to lead Unity Center for Behavioral Health.  Ms. Eckstein has devoted the last 32 years to the field of behavioral health and advocating for the needs of those impacted by mental illness and substance use disorders. 

Ms. Eckstein has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker since 1998.  She holds an active license in the states of Texas and Oregon.  In addition, she is a board-certified clinical supervisor and has guided many social workers towards full licensure over the last 20+ years.  She holds an undergraduate degree in social work (BSW) from the University of North Texas, a Master of Science in social work (MSSW) from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Master’s in business administration (MBA) from the Texas Woman’s University.

Ms. Eckstein has an extensive background in crisis intervention, program development, grant writing, and hospital operations. She has experience across the system of behavioral health care starting out in community grass roots, moving to community mental health and then spending the last 18 years in hospital settings.  Ms. Eckstein has over 22 years of clinical, hands-on experience and over 20 years of senior, executive-level leadership experience. 

Emily Rochon
Service Coordination Team (SCT) Program Manager - Portland Police Bureau (PPB)

Emily Rochon has been working with the Portland Police Bureau since 2015 as the Program Manager for the Service Coordination Team (SCT). Emily’s responsibilities include contract and budget management, coordinating with community partner agencies, program development, outreach, and managing referrals for SCT. Since 2007, Emily has worked closely as a partner with SCT in different capacities, including working as an addiction treatment counselor and as a supervisor for the housing portion of the program.  Emily has been working in social services for over 20 years. 

Janie Gullickson
Executive Director - Mental Health & Addiction Association of Oregon (MHAAO)

Janie is a person in long-term recovery and for her means she has not used alcohol or other drugs in over 13 years. Janie is in recovery from both addiction and serious mental health issues as well as homelessness, incarceration, and criminal justice involvement. She navigated all types of systems and institutions that can accompany such life experiences, from frequent hospitalizations to prison. Janie was released from Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in September of 2006.

Janie first began her work as a Peer Support Specialist/Recovery Mentor in 2011. Janie joined the peer-run organization Mental Health & Addiction Association of Oregon (MHAAO) as a project assistant in 2014. In May of 2017 Janie became MHAAO’s Executive Director. MHAAO has grown from an organization of 4 staff to over 80 serving Oregon and beyond! She also earned her Master of Public Administration: Health Administration (MPA: HA) degree from Portland State University in June of 2017.

Janie is passionate about social justice issues with a focus on mental health and addiction recovery, peer programs and services and advocacy in these realms. Janie has been a member of the BHUAC since 2016 and was chair of the committee from May of 2018 through December of 2022.

Don Meyers      
Administrative Supervisor – American Medical Response Paramedic

Don was born and raised in the Portland area and is a State and nationally certified Paramedic. Don has been with American Medical Response serving Portland and the surrounding area for 16 years as a field Paramedic and an EMS Supervisor. Prior to his career in EMS he served in the United States Marine Corps where he found a passion for serving and helping others. Currently Don helps handle contract compliance Between Multnomah County EMS and AMR, hiring manager for AMR ALS Paramedics, and still at times plays an active role either field supervising Paramedic crews or running 911 calls on occasion. 

Stephanie LaCarrubba
Programs Unit Manager - Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO)

Stephanie has been working as a program manager at the Sheriff’s Office since March 2020. She is responsible for managing and developing programs for adults in custody at the two Multnomah County Jails and has also been working to develop programs for individuals on pretrial monitoring with MCSO’s Close Street program. Her team consists of corrections counselors, corrections technicians, chaplains, and a grievance coordinator. Stephanie and her team work closely with Corrections Health and community partners to provide support and resources to incarcerated clients and those returning to the community.

Stephanie emigrated to the United States from Chile as a young child and grew up in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from Portland State University, she moved to Brooklyn, New York, to attend law school. She worked as a law clerk and as a prosecutor for several years after earning her J.D. Stephanie moved back to Portland with her family in 2019. She hopes to continue working toward advancing criminal justice reform effort in order to better serve justice-involved individuals, victims, and the community.

Cassi Sturtz
Behavioral Health Manager for the Adult System of Care – CareOregon

Cassi is the Behavioral Health Manager for the Adult System of Care at CareOregon. Cassi has been in this role at CareOregon since September of 2020.  Prior to her current role Cassi spent 10 years managing a variety of behavioral health programs for individuals in with justice system involvement across the Portland Metro Region. 

Cassi enjoys complex system problem solving through relationships and innovation. Her current role at CareOregon focuses on program and service development for adults with substance use and mental health needs. Cassi is committed to ensuring access to evidence based, equitable behavioral health care for all individuals.  

Barbara Snow
Crisis Services Manager – Multnomah County Behavioral Health Division

Barb Snow serves as the Crisis Services Manager for Multnomah County Behavioral Health Division. In this role Barb oversees the daily operations of the 24/7 Behavioral Health Call Center (BHCC). The BHCC provides immediate phone support to anyone experiencing distress or calling about someone in need. Clinicians offer supportive listening, resource linkage, and referral to services including sliding scale agencies, community resources and mobile crisis dispatch. In her role, Barb also oversees the Multnomah County contracts for mobile crisis services and urgent walk-in as well as supports the Multnomah County Disaster Behavioral Health response. 

Prior to Barb coming to work for Multnomah County in July 2021, she worked for 15 years at Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare providing and overseeing crisis response services at Project Respond, the Urgent Walk-In Clinic, and the two Adult Respite programs. 

Barb holds a graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Social Work and is a Clinical Licensed Social Work in the state of Oregon. 

Juliana Wallace
Senior Director of Mental Health and Culturally Specific Services, Central City Concern

Juliana Wallace BSW, MSW, LCSW with over eighteen years’ experience working in social services and eight years in health care leadership. Juliana has held leadership roles at Outside In, OHSU, Unity Center for Behavioral Health and now Central City Concern. Currently serving as the Senior Director of Mental Health and Culturally Specific Services at Central City Concern. A lifelong learner of Trauma Informed Care, recovery, and the power of love. Starting in the fall of 2017 she taught Trauma Informed Care at Portland State University and continues as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Social Work. Her current clinical practice is grounded in the connection of trauma and stress to coping skills, self-reflection, and promotion of safe spaces to practice vulnerability. Focusing on an open heart, humanistic, and somatic based approach to both clinical care, leadership and training.

Bill Osborne LCSW
Oregon State Hospital/OHA

Bill Osborne currently works with Oregon State Hospital on a special project focused on individuals admitted under Aid and Assist and GEI orders. Previously Bill worked as the Intensive Services manager within the Oregon Health Authority. The Intensive Services unit oversees policy and operations for individuals entering the behavioral health system through the courts. The unit also advocates for a justice-centered behavioral health care system by leveraging innovative operations and policy change. Prior to joining OHA, Bill worked with Multnomah County first as the Civil Commitment supervisor and then as the Diversion and Civil Commitment Manager. He has also worked in acute care hospitals for both Legacy and Portland Adventist as a social worker and a manager.  

Deandre Kenyanjui
Consumer Engagement Coordinator - Multnomah County

Deandre works for Multnomah County Health Department’s Office of Consumer Engagement, does independent consulting, was vital in the development of Multnomah County’s first Behavioral Health Resource Center (BHRC), and helps influence policies and systems to better suit the needs of people who are impacted by the Behavioral Health system.

As a Portland native, Deandre Kenyanjui has firsthand experience with mental health, addictions, gang violence, the criminal justice system, intergenerational trauma and houselessness. After experiencing these challenges, he sought help and found community through Central City Concern and started his recovery journey in 2015. He navigated as a consumer within their services, became an employee as a peer support, and later moved into the employment sector. Now, his heart is in giving back to the people who suffer from the disease of addiction, mental health challenges, and people experiencing houselessness.

For far too long, these populations have been silenced, tokenized, and overlooked and his goal is to now amplify their voices and experiences to transform our systems. He is now a full-time father, Certified Peer Support Specialist (Mental Health & Addictions), Peer Wellness Specialist and a Qualified Mental Health Associate. Deandre’s vision is to transform systems by leading with equity, lived experience and compassion. He believes the most vulnerable and impacted people should be the voice and heartbeat of why we do our work. Nothing about us, without us.

Deandre is on various boards, committees, and councils such as New Narrative Peer Advisory Council, Oregon Community Advisory Council, Oregon Peer Delivered Services Advisory Council, Mentors Advisory Council, Community Peace Collaborative (CPC), Lifeworks NW African American Advisory Board, 988, and Behavioral Health Emergency Coordination Network (BHECN), just to name a few.

Emily Cooper
Legal Director -
Disability Rights Oregon

Emily leads a team of attorneys and advocates who work to uphold the rights of Oregonians with disabilities. She spearheads DRO's class-action litigation, including the Wyatt v. Brown lawsuit seeking a safer foster care system that provides children the services they need to thrive, as well as our ongoing monitoring of the Oregon Advocacy Center v. Mink case aimed at ensuring people with mental illness get timely access to court ordered restoration services.   

Melanie Payne
Training and Development Manager – Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC)

Melanie Payne serves as the Emergency Communications Training and Development Manager for BOEC. She is responsible for the recruitment, hiring and training of new 9-1-1 dispatchers.  In this role, she oversees instructors and certified coach-trainers as they teach functional skills, guide hands-on learning, and demonstrate customer service. In addition, she oversees all ongoing training for certified staff, ensuring that they maintain the standards of excellence expected of 9-1-1. She is proud to work with extraordinary people who dedicated to community safety.

Melanie graduated from Arizona State University with a BS in Communication. Her background includes instructing public speaking and small group communication at Arizona State University, recruiting and managing interns for major corporations, and leading certification and ongoing training efforts for the City of Phoenix Development Services Department. 

Melanie has been a member of the BHUAC since April of 2015.

Claire Beatus
Program Manager of Mental Health Outreach Services - Central City Concern

Claire Beatus, LCSW, has over a decade of experience working in social services and five years in behavioral healthcare leadership. Claire currently serves as the Program Manager for Central City Concern's Acute Outreach teams, managing clinical, financial, and daily operations of multiple programs that engage in outreach throughout Multnomah County. Claire is passionate about equitable healthcare access and removing barriers to healthcare for our community's most vulnerable populations. Claire enjoys solving complex care problems and facilitating systemic improvements. Claire holds a graduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin in Social Work and is a Clinical Licensed Social Work in the state of Oregon.