Like pulling teeth

Well, it looks like Portland is about to get 17 new "sobering" beds, nine at the Unity psych hospital near Moda Center and another eight at Providence Hospital. The addition of this treatment capacity for people too far gone from alcohol or other drugs comes nearly three and a half years after Central City Concern closed its Hooper Center in northeast Portland because the inmates on meth had gotten too dangerous to handle. Portland never replaced that facility, nor the "Chiers" van that CCC used to scoop up drunks off downtown streets and take them to Hooper to dry out.

Although it's nice that something's being done now, it's only a small fraction of what is needed. If Portland is going to climb out of its current hole, it will need many more drug treatment beds, mental health treatment beds, shelter beds, jail beds, and professionals to staff all of the foregoing. Unfortunately, the county and the state are going in a different direction. They are falling all over each other to hand out millions to developers and construction companies to build more bad apartments.

The core problem on Portland's streets is not a lack of housing. It's drug addiction. It's untreated mental illness. Look at the guy who's been arrested for torching the old apartment building near I-405 earlier this month. He had housing, but he was out of his mind. Despite many open and notorious warning signs, he was pulling false fire alarms in his building, and punching through the walls of his apartment, a disaster waiting to happen. People like that need treatment, and if they won't accept it, then they need to be put somewhere where they won't hurt anybody. Handing them the keys to an apartment is not the answer.

Seventeen new treatment slots aren't much, but they're better than a hundred free flats for people who are so sick as to be dangerous. Let's hope Portland and Oregon wise up soon.


  1. Oregon in general and Portland in particular have no to terrible treatment and an awful drug policy (as in no policy). In fact we are last in the nation for treatment for addiction.
    Until that changes the current homeless
    and drug problems will persist and make
    living in this state difficult and very expensive.

    1. I think we, as voters, should accept the blame for the brain donors in office.

    2. Sadly, it's much easier to grift off of the money spigot that's currently flowing to create subsidized housing than it is to do the hard work of implementing effective laws and providing the necessary institutions/social services.

    3. Insisting on using contractors (non and for-profits) rather than government employees has its consequences everywhere.

  2. Looks like there’s another accidental discovery that might be seriously useful in addressing addiction

  3. A must read on our plight


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