City of Portland begins hiring process for Portland Street Response team

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – The city of Portland is getting closer to launching a pilot program aimed at better addressing 911 calls dealing with mental health crisis or issues around homelessness. The program is known as the Portland Street Response Team and will begin in January 2021.

Portland Fire and Rescue is spearheading the new idea and is looking to hire for two positions on the team, a community health worker and a mental health crisis clinician.

“We really need to find a program and a system to send the right responder to the right response,” Robyn Burek with Portland Fire and Rescue said.

The team will be focused in the Lents neighborhood.

“When we look at the call volume across the city, we see that is that it is growing across the city, the Lents area is actually outpacing the rest of the city in terms of call growth,” Burek said.

Initially the program was set to be one team of three in the pilot program, but in June the Portland City Council reallocated nearly $5 million to the program. The addition money is something PF&R says will allow them to bring in a second team.

The plan is to have one team start in January, the second will follow six months later.

“We should be and recruiting in November, start training in December and then we will be ready to launch in January,” Burek said.

After the pilot program ends in a year, the department will take a look at how things went, what worked and what didn’t work.

“Once 2022 hits then we will begin to phase in more teams, we don’t have a number of what to expect yet that is what part of the pilot will help us determine but we are excited,” Burek said.

Success for the program will be measured in three areas, the number of calls they are able to reduce where a person does not have an interaction with police where no crime was committed. Did the team reduce the number of calls that would typically end up in the emergency department unnecessarily. The third is reducing the response of police and fire to true non-emergency calls.

Find more information about the Portland Street Response Team program here and apply here.

Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


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(10) comments

Roberto Estrello Demar

Most of those who are in a mental health crisis are perfectly harmless... they just need some guidance and help. THAT BEING SAID... ANY mental health professionals who go unarmed are as crazy as bedbugs and should have their keys taken away from them.


Feckless Wheeler is strategically destroying our city day by day, and the idiots keep voting for him...


Portland already has a response team. It is called the police. If Wheeler would let them do their job, the problem will be solved. Until then, the homeless bums have more rights that the owners of the property they are destroying. No wonder people and businesses are getting out of the Portland cesspool.

Mr Q

911 what's your emergency?

there is a person who i think is suicidal please send help

What's your address we will send a street response team

address blah blah blah please hurry



suicidal person please put down your weapon we are here to talk with you

please just talk with us

please don't shoot those people

911 what's your emergency?

911 this is the streets response team we need a cop this person is shooting at us ... please hurr.....dial tone

please don't shoot another person

Frederick Fukov

Now..there ya go again..trying to bring realism into a discussion in the capitol of radical idealism.


Being a member of Antifa a qualification?

Frederick Fukov

They had better be armed, or have armed escort with them. All the fanatical idealism in the world is not going to change the real danger they will face, when dealing with total mentals.


Yep. This approach will work just fine until someone is stabbed or shot in the face.


Was thinking the same after reading articles here the past 6 months.

Frederick Fukov

All one has to do is to go back in time to when Clackamas Co Sheriff Damon Coates personally went to a domestic disturbance call, that involved a teen boy that was out of his gourd. The kid pulls a gun and shot Coates in the face. One of the ugliest stories and new features I've ever seen. Coates survived, but he was seriously impacted for the rest of his life.

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