Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and City bureau directors are working to protect public health, to protect its employees, to ensure critical services remain online and to respond to citywide emergencies during the COVID-19 crisis.
“As a City, our priorities are to protect public health and maintain the essential services that Portlanders rely on to keep their lives moving forward,” Mayor Wheeler Said. “My colleagues and I are laser-focused on both achieving those goals, and on supporting the resilience and recovery of our community, both socially and economically.”
Joining Mayor Wheeler today to share what their bureaus are doing to continue delivering essential services to the community during the State of Emergency, were Portland Police Chief Jamie Resch, Portland Fire Chief Sara Boone, Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM) Director Mike Myers, Chief Administrative Officer Tom Rinehart and PBOT Director Chris Warner. The City of Portland took necessary action, declaring a citywide State of Emergency March 12 to ensure that the community stays both safe, and solvent. Monday, March 23, Governor Kate Brown issued a statewide Stay Home, Save Lives order, and the Portland Police Bureau will be educating violators about the importance of following the Governor’s directive, while also preparing to mobilize in uncertain times.
“We are currently taking calls for service and are encouraging the public to report crimes online or to speak to us by phone,” Chief Resch said. “We are asking our community to comply with the Governor’s order to stay home. It is meant to save lives and we can’t stress how important that is.”
The Portland Police Bureau released the following data:
• Dispatched calls are 10% lower compared to the ten days before the State of emergency declaration,
• Calls involving suicide attempts or suicide threats with or without a weapon are up 41% from 2019 and up 23% from ten days prior to the State of emergency (Resources: Mental Health Crisis intervention line or Lines for Life),
• Requests for emergency food boxes have increased more than six-times for the same time period in 2019 and are up eight times from the 10 days prior to the emergency declaration (Resources: Sunshine Division has pick-up options, if someone is unable to pick-up, call non-emergency dispatch),
• DV calls-data unavailable due to different ways calls are coded (Resources: National Domestic Violence Hotline or Call to Safety)
Emergency responders remind people not to call 911 unless there’s a true emergency, and to call the police non-emergency line instead at (503) 823-3333. The Portland Bureau of Emergency Management is also continuing to work across public and private sectors and collaborating with other jurisdictions to explore all options to ease the effect the COVID-19 crisis will have on our community.
“We’re utilizing primarily every resource we could possibly bring to bear on this situation,” PBEM Director Mike Myers said. “This has been a never-ending task for all those involved, and it takes a tremendous amount of teamwork.”
With the citywide State of Emergency due to expire at 8 a.m. on Thursday, March 26, Mayor Wheeler will extend the emergency declaration to last in two week increments as the pandemic continues.
“We’re still on the upside of the contagion curve, so this would not be a good time for us to suspend the emergency declaration,” Mayor Wheeler said. “We collectively control how deep and how long this crisis lasts through our own behavior. My actions impact your health, your actions impact my health. We’ll get through this together.”
“The health, safety, and wellbeing of Portlanders is our top priority – that goes especially for our city’s most vulnerable,” Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty added. “I want to thank everyone who stepped up to care for those who need it; empathy and compassion are how we get through this together. To our professional team of first responders, I am grateful for your work every day, and I am committed to ensuring you are safe during this challenging time.”