Portland Street Response aims to double its staff

Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 5:51 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Six months after the Portland Street Response team announced they were expanding their services city-wide, the program announced a new push to hire more than two dozen new positions.

The Portland Street Response Team started back in 2021 with seven people and now they’re looking to have a staff of 58. The street response team responds to non-emergency calls for people going through a behavioral or mental health crisis.

Robyn Burek is the Program Manager for the Portland Street Response team. She said they’re looking to hire new mental health crisis responders and peer support specialists for example. She said each position has different requirements but generally, they’re looking for people with masters degrees and experience in mental health care.

After nearly two years of helping out Portlanders, Burek said the community feedback has been positive. She read some of the comments from Portland State University.

“I can’t get through the PSU evaluation report without crying, my team members can tell you that,” Burek said. “There are so many good quotes about specifically calling out team members on how they saved their life or treated them as human beings and to me, that’s what Portland Street Response is all about.”

Britt Urban works as a community health supervisor for the street response team. She used to be one of the original crisis responders when the team was less than 10.

“We’re sometimes able to make connections with people because we’re unarmed and because we’re not there to enforce anything, we’re just there to check on people,” Urban said.

She too has seen the positive impact the Portland Street Response team has made on the community.

“We’ve had people who worked with our community health workers who talk about how they’ve changed their lives or have made them feel safe or wanted again in the community,” Burek said.

If you would like to see all the job listings you can click here, and search City of Portland.