Portland, Ore. — Governor Tina Kotek, Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson, and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler have collectively declared a 90-day state of emergency to tackle the public health and public safety crisis fueled by fentanyl in Portland’s Central City. This decision follows a recommendation made by the Portland Central City Task Force at the Oregon Business Leadership Summit last year.
The emergency orders mandate the City, State, and County to allocate available resources to this unified response. A command center will be established in the central city to coordinate strategies and response efforts, with each level of government appointing an incident commander responsible for coordinating resources. Nathan Reynolds, Deputy Chief of Policy and Mission Support at the Office of Resilience and Emergency Management for the state; former Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines for the County; and Mike Myers, Director of the Community Safety Division for the City, will serve in these roles.
The Command Center’s objectives include reallocating existing resources, sharing and publicly reporting data on fentanyl impacts, identifying and addressing acute needs and service gaps, and establishing a sustainable coordination system beyond the initial 90-day period.
State resources from various departments including the Oregon Department of Human Services, Office of Resilience and Emergency Management, Oregon Department of Emergency Management, Oregon Health Authority, and Oregon State Police will be deployed. Multnomah County will utilize resources from its Health Department, County Human Services, Community Justice, County Assets, Joint Office of Homeless Services, Emergency Management, and partner network to prevent fentanyl exposure, reduce harm among substance users, and enhance access to outreach, treatment, recovery, and housing services.
Multnomah County’s Health Department plans to launch two public education campaigns during the emergency period to promote prevention among youth, highlight the effectiveness of recovery, and reduce treatment stigma. Additionally, the County will enhance visibility and coordination of street outreach contractors, distribute Narcan, issue overdose data reports, and leverage services from the downtown Behavioral Health Resource Center for targeted outreach.
The City of Portland will deploy public safety, addiction, public health services, crisis response, and other resources to address the fentanyl crisis. Efforts will include peer outreach, behavioral and public health services to transition individuals with fentanyl addiction into treatment, and collaborative missions between the Portland Police Bureau and Oregon State Police to hold drug sellers accountable.