Final Report on 90-day Fentanyl Emergency

News Article

On Friday, May 3 2024, Governor Tina Kotek, Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson, and Mayor Ted Wheeler released the final report on the state of emergency each declared 90 days ago to address the public health and public safety crisis driven by fentanyl in Portland. The emergency response was a recommendation by the governor’s Portland Central City Task Force.

“Just over three months ago, the Mayor, Chair and I shared that the uniqueness of the fentanyl crisis required us to respond with the highest possible level of coordination. The 90-day tri-government fentanyl emergency achieved that and much more,” Governor Tina Kotek said. “There is certainly more work to do, and the state will continue to be a key partner.”

The three emergency orders directed available resources towards a unified tri-governmental response led by the Portland Central City Fentanyl Crisis Incident Management Team. Over 50 city, county, and state employees worked during the emergency to coordinate strategies and response efforts. The final report details the team’s accomplishments over the 90 days, and recommends actions to take following the emergency’s end.

Key accomplishments during the emergency:

  • Expanded a successful partnership between Portland Police Bureau and Mental Health & Addiction Association of Oregon to redirect people using fentanyl in public into treatment and away from the criminal justice system.
  • Improved safety and livability downtown through enhanced lighting, new security measures, and other crime deterrent measures on public property.
  • Established daily coordination among jurisdictions, first responders, and treatment providers to rapidly assess real time needs, combine efforts, deploy resources, and overcome gaps.
  • Secured 52 housing placements through the Joint Office of Homeless Services for clients at the Clinton Triangle Temporary Alternative Shelter Site (administered by All Good Northwest, in partnership with Urban Alchemy and the City of Portland), as part of the Housing Multnomah Now pilot program.
  • Leased seven units through the City of Portland at the Ankeny Apartments run by Central City Concern for individuals who are post-detox and/or treatment and working with the City’s Outreach team.
  • Launched a centralized website with a map and dashboards using data across multiple governments and agencies to show the impact of fentanyl in Multnomah County.
  • Identified a preliminary private sector partnership in the next steps to address the fentanyl crisis.
  • Multnomah County Emergency Medical Services program established practices to rapidly deploy naloxone at county-managed severe weather shelters.
  • Multnomah County Health Department convened a fentanyl summit with over 150 diverse community partners to better understand existing work across the county and identify new ways to collaborate and coordinate.
  • Expanded the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Central Bike Patrol to increase police presence in the central city in the evenings and on weekends.
  • Expanded the PPB Narcotics and Organized Crime (NOC) unit to focus on both overdose death investigations and increase capacity for drug supply interdiction efforts with regional and federal law enforcement partners.
  • Coordinated and expanded distribution of naloxone throughout the central city.
  • Temporarily suspended two Bottle Drop sites associated with fentanyl activity to provide relief to neighbors and gather data on impact to community wellness and safety.
  • Initiated a land exchange between the Portland Bureau of Transportation and Oregon Department of Transportation to provide additional capacity for Save Rest Village shelter.

”The fentanyl crisis is unprecedented, and our response must match that urgency,” Chair Jessica Vega Pederson said. “We’ve convened providers, piloted street-level outreach, created new epidemiological dashboards and perhaps most importantly - dramatically increased coordination and collaboration that will last far beyond these 90 days. Now, we turn to quickly opening and expanding intake and sobering services. I know the lessons we learned during this emergency will bring new best practices to our work in every neighborhood across Multnomah County.”

“This 90-day emergency response has not only enhanced our collective capabilities but also deepened our commitment to confronting the devastating impacts of fentanyl in Portland. These efforts have been underpinned by the foundational work my administration has championed in recent years, including a comprehensive Central City Recovery Plan, enhanced public safety measures, a focus on improving livability, and a compassionate response to unsheltered homelessness,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler. “The strategies we’ve implemented are a testament to what we can achieve through steadfast collaboration and focused action. As we move forward, these initiatives will serve as a foundation for our continued efforts to combat this crisis and foster a safer, healthier Portland.”

In the coming weeks and months, additional actions are planned to build on the unified response to the emergency and continue addressing the fentanyl crisis. The following are specific projects described in the final report:

  • Develop an intake facility that accepts referrals from all sources (law enforcement, community organizations, medical professionals, etc.) to match those seeking treatment to the appropriate level of care and supportive services.
  • Support the Joint Office of Homeless services to bring a shelter bed tracking system online as soon as possible.
  • Staff key public services during evenings and weekends as much as possible.
  • Continue to saturate high-risk areas and groups with naloxone.
  • Create and support mobile clinics offering Medically Assisted Treatment.
  • Inventory and evaluate culturally-specific services.
  • Continue coordination across jurisdictions with one representative assigned on a coordination team to facilitate discussion between first responders, service providers, related programs and partners.
  • Support development of Oregon Health and Science University’s Mission Control real-time addiction treatment bed-tracking system.
  • Assure that a range of recovery housing options exist to support individuals in different stages of recovery.
  • Use data for evaluation and to drive more action.