Boundary for calls covered also increases
Members of Portland’s Street Response Team form a new second shift. (Photo by Dan Hawk Photography)
Portland’s new Street Response team, an experiment in responding to mental health emergencies outside of the home with unarmed professionals instead of police officers, has grown with the addition of a night shift and covering more territory in southeast Portland.
The second team is scheduled to begin work tonight offering expanded service from 6 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Thursdays through Sundays. The existing day shift has changed its hours to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Thursday, officials said.
Both day and night teams will respond in a new expanded boundary that corresponds to Portland Police Bureau’s East Precinct, increasing the boundary from 13 square miles in the Lents neighborhood to some adjacent southeast neighborhoods, covering 36 square miles.
The new night shift response team includes a Firefighter/EMT, a Mental Health Crisis Responder, and two Peer Support Specialists.
“This next phase of Portland Street Response’s expansion is part of Portland Fire & Rescue’s commitment to health equity and a bureau-wide vision for creating a community where all of our neighbors are able to access the mental, behavioral health, and social service supports they need to live healthy, productive lives.” said Fire Chief Sara Boone.
Police Chief Chuck Lovell said officers from the police bureau’s Behavioral Health Team have worked to supply training, provide support and assist the efforts of the Street Response Team as they begin their expansion.
“This is a valuable public safety partnership," he said.
Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who oversees Portland Street Response and helped create the program, said the expansion of the team will free up needed resources for the police.
“I’m so excited that today we are ready to expand Portland Street Response to a larger portion of Portland’s eastside with a new shift coming onboard,” Hardesty said. “I want to thank the Lents neighborhood for being an incredible partner throughout this pilot and Portlanders throughout the city who have continued to express strong support for growing Portland Street Response.”
Officials said residents can plug their addresses into an online tool at http://www.portland.gov/streetresponse/address-lookup-toolto see if their home is within the new boundary. Requests for Street Response service can be made by calling 9-1-1.