Report: Downtown Portland Clean & Safe finds troubling trend of needles on streets

Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 6:33 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - A report from Downton Portland’s Clean & Safe program shows an alarming increase in the number of hypodermic needles found in parts of Old Town and Downtown.

Downtown Portland confirmed Friday with FOX 12 that in 2022, cleaning crews in the Clean & Safe District covering parts of Old Town and Downtown collected about 176,000 hypodermic needles. That equates to 482 needles collected each day. The report obtained by FOX 12 shows that in 2014, Clean & Safe recovered about 5,000 needles. Since then, Clean & Safe has reported dramatic annual increases in hypodermic needles cleaned up on the streets each year:

  • 2015 - 9,897
  • 2016 - 16,882
  • 2017 - 27,787
  • 2018 - 38,394
  • 2019 - 42,331
  • 2020 - 65,437
  • 2021 - 146,849

Diann Lynn White has lived in assisted living communities in Old Town for the last decade. She says she previously experienced homelessness in Portland and says the city had a better handle on the situation in the past. She says she is shocked to see learn about the statistics about hypodermic needles found in the area.

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“That’s bad,” said White. “I know that people have problems. Been there, done that. It’s just kind of sad that it’s okay.”

White says she feels local nonprofits and city officials are making some progress, but she feels the drug crisis is still rampant because of heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamine.

“I just see so many people out here getting high and then dying in the streets,” said. “It’s sad.”