Portland’s five year settlement plan with the US DOJ appears to be stalling the area’s attempts to improve services for persons with mental illness. We think we’ll soon start to see opportunities pass us by as indigenous advocates – both professional and self-defined – stand down.
Here’s an example where Medford mental health and Medford police have put together a simple walk-in center for people who are in mental health crisis. Walk-ins exist all over the nation and reduce crisis, hotline and 911 calls, hospitalizations, and jailings. Police can be advocates for community mental health. Even in Medford.
Portland mayor Charlie Hales and DOJ lawyer Jonas Gessler signed the settlement agreement for U.S. v. City of Portland in 2012 saying both before and after the signing the settlement item requiring the development of one or more walk-in centers was “aspirational.” To date the lawsuit and its settlement have not reduced the number of persons with mental illness harmed by Portand police.