PORTLAND, OR -- Oregon, the city of Portland and Multnomah County each declared a fentanyl emergency this week, "To address the crisis of fentanyl use in Portland’s Central City, which we know has a ripple effect on the rest of the state." Governor Tina Kotek says focusing a coordinated emergency response in Portland benefits every Oregonian, "Because we know a large share of fentanyl in Oregon is trafficked through our major city."
The declarations are in place for just 90 days, during which time incident commanders assigned by city, county and state governments will coordinate efforts between their respective agencies. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler says the coordinated effort builds on what the city has already done, and lays the groundwork for the future, "This declared emergency between the state, the county and the city is a longer-term strategy. Obviously, in 90 days, we’re not going to solve the fentanyl crisis in Portland. It’s going to be with us for years." He added, "Long-term success demands increased collaboration between those of us here: the city, the county and the state." Wheeler explained, "Over the next 90 days, we will focus on creating stronger systems of coordination for a more focused and immediate set of changes."
Governor Tina Kotek says they’ll stand up a command center for better strategic coordination, "The fentanyl crisis requires state and local government to respond with the highest possible level of coordination. Together, we must do more to increase access to treatment, and we much do more to hold individuals accountable for selling fentanyl and other dangerous drugs."
She says there is no budget for the project yet, "Right now, we’re using existing resources to coordinate better. And I fully expect there will be an additional ask, but right now I don’t know what those are."
Among the strategies, Kotek wants licensing boards to streamline the certification process, to get more addiction treatment providers on the street, faster. They plan to release metrics and measurable goals soon.