Too many cooks – way too many

Setting up a detox center for people in the grip of a meth-induced psychosis is no easy proposition. But when you put the task in the hands of incompetent bureaucrats, like Portland City Hall and the Multnomah County bobbleheads, it's nigh-on impossible.

Here's the story from OPB, great reporting as usual. 

Portland city government, and a few others began to look at ways Portland might be able to do a sobering center better.

In the year and half since, the group has swelled to include more than 160 individuals representing more than 80 organizations. They’ve been calling their vision the Behavioral Health Emergency Coordination Network, or the BHECN (“beacon”) project. Organizers have visited other stabilization center models, such as the Crisis Response Center in Tucson, Arizona. They’ve written up draft proposals and explored various approaches to sobering and stabilizing....

Details of the project, however, have been slow in coming despite planning efforts that have cost nearly $2 million to date. By the end of August, the city will have paid Lones Consulting about $1.2 million, with CareOregon chipping in an additional $80,000, and Legacy Health has spent $486,000 on community engagement....

Contributing to the delay, the pandemic caused a one-year pause on planning. Then discussions stopped again while Portland and Multnomah County leadership hashed out who was going to oversee the project. On May 23, the city and county released a memorandum of understanding. It put Multnomah County in the driver’s seat, but in close consultation with the city, which was leading efforts initially.

A government and nonprofit committee of 160 people, with a seven-figure consultant. And surprise! Nothing's getting done but writing up reports and burning through money. 

It's been like pulling teeth to get Portland to reconsider its insane form of government, and finally in November there'll be a vote on something that might have a chance of passing. But the real problems haunting Portland right now, especially the big one, drug addiction, aren't going to be solved until they merge the city and county (and get rid of most of Metro). California learned this lesson long ago.

As for the detox center, it will only put a small dent in the crisis in Portland, if it ever gets opened. And from the looks of things, that's going to be a long way off.


  1. Had to read two times. The first time I read it as "Too many crooks..."


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