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Portland Street Response Frequently Asked Questions

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A list of common questions and answers about Portland Street Reponse.

Portland Street Response Frequently Asked Questions

When will the Portland Street Response pilot launch?

The Portland Street Response pilot started January 2021 when the team began training. On February 16, 2021 the team started taking calls in Lents.

Where will the pilot operate and why just in that part of the city?

The pilot first started in the Lents area. Lents was designated as the first pilot location because it is not supported with many existing resources and services; additionally, the volume of calls in Lents is outpacing the growth of calls across the rest of the city. On April 1, 2021, the pilot expanded its boundaries to the greater Lents area to better align with Portland Police Districts. You can find out more about that here: https://www.portland.gov/streetresponse/news/2021/4/7/portland-street-response-pilot-adds-increased-areas-service-adds-more

Who will be on the team and how many teams will there be?

Portland Street Response is starting with one team of four that includes a Firefighter EMT, a Licensed Mental Health Crisis Therapist, and two Community Health Workers. They will work Monday through Friday 10 am-6 pm, and then a similar second team will be added six-months later to cover the same area but respond at night and on the weekends.

Can I call 911 and request Portland Street Response?

During the pilot period, community members in the service area may request Street Response. Our 911 dispatchers will have a list of questions they will ask to determine which responder is most appropriate to send: Police, Fire, Portland Street Response, or AMR ambulance service. If the call fits the criteria for Portland Street Response, dispatchers will alert the team and send them to the call. To find out if your address is within the current program boundaries, you can use this address look up tool: https://www.portland.gov/streetresponse/address-lookup-tool

How are calls triaged to PSR?

Currently, PSR will be dispatched when a caller reports:

  • A person who is possibly experiencing a mental health crisis; intoxicated and/or drug affected. This person is either outside or inside of a publicly accessible space such as a business, store, public lobby, etc.
  • A person who is outside and down, not checked.
  • A person who is outside and yelling.
  • A person who needs a referral for services, but does not have access to a phone line.

The call meets the previous criteria - AND

  • There are no weapons seen.
  • The person is not in traffic/not obstructing traffic.
  • The person is not violent towards others (physically combative, threatening violence, assaulting).
  • The person is not suicidal.
  • The person is not inside of a private residence.

Can I see call data for Portland Street Response?

We have a data dashboard here: https://www.portland.gov/streetresponse/data-dashboard

Council approved a budget of $4.8 million. Why is it starting with only 2 teams and in one area of the city?

We share the excitement Portlanders are feeling now that the pilot has launched. We understand the urgency to expand this needed service throughout the city, but we need to do this right and learn lessons from the pilot to set the program up for long-term success. Creating a new branch of a first response system is almost unheard of in modern times and we are building this from scratch. The additional funding secured last summer will allow PSR to launch a second team later this year.

Will Portland Street Response address the homeless crisis?

The goal of Portland Street Response is to update our first responder system by providing an additional compassionate first response option when 911 is called on someone experiencing homelessness or a low-acuity behavioral health issues, not to solve homelessness.

How will the City determine whether this program is a success?

Portland Street Response is partnering with Portland State University's Homelessness Research and Action Collaborative to help provide external program evaluation. Frequent updates on program outcomes will be posted on the Portland Street Response webpage and will be presented to Council during and after the pilot. Portland State has released its six-month evaluation of Portland Street Response and you can access it here.

Why is Portland Street Response coordinated by Portland Fire &Rescue?

Portland Street Response is coordinated by Portland Fire & Rescue for several reasons: 1) the program needs infrastructure that is connected to the current 911 system; 2) Portland Fire & Rescue’s Community Healthcare Assessment Team (CHAT) has already built the foundation for Portland Street Response; and 3) it follows the directive to keep this program separate from police.

Can I volunteer or help out in some way?

We are excited by the number of requests we are receiving from community members who want to help. At this time, we don't have a formal structure in place for volunteers to assist us, but we are evaluating how we might sponsor a volunteer program. We will update this site to let you know how you might be able to help. Please follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook to be updated on the latest opportunities.

Can I donate money/products to the project?

We are currently not set up to take financial or product donations at this time. We are looking at ways to accept these generous offers. Please follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook to be updated on the latest opportunities.

How do I get a job with Portland Street Response?

As the program expands, we will hire new employees. Please follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook to be updated on the latest opportunities. Additionally, you can get alerted to new City of Portland job opportunities at: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/portlandor