Oregon Leaders Declare Emergency In Downtown Portland’s Fentanyl Crisis

Multnomah County, the city of Portland, and the state of Oregon have recently launched a 90-day experiment to address the fentanyl crisis in downtown Portland. This joint effort comes in response to the alarming increase in overdose fatalities involving fentanyl in Multnomah County, which has risen by 533% between 2018 and 2022.

The three governments have declared a fentanyl emergency and directed their agencies to collaborate on programs that aim to connect individuals struggling with addiction to treatment programs. Additionally, there will be a crackdown on drug sales to curb the supply of fentanyl in the area. These measures were formulated as part of Kotek’s Central City Task Force, a group that met to find solutions to revitalize downtown Portland.

Although the 90-day emergency is primarily focused on Portland’s central city, which encompasses an area from Goose Hollow to the Lloyd District, the response extends beyond the city limits. The fentanyl crisis and the shortage of substance use treatment providers and recovery centers are pressing issues that affect the entire region. 

Despite the passage of Measure 110 in 2020, which was intended to fund new drug treatment programs across Oregon and decriminalize small amounts of illicit drugs, there has been a serious lack of resources. State lawmakers are now aiming to renegotiate certain aspects of Measure 110 in the upcoming legislative session starting next week.

The collaborative efforts between Multnomah County, the city of Portland, and the state of Oregon demonstrate a proactive approach to address the fentanyl crisis and provide much-needed support to those struggling with addiction. By working together, these entities aim to make a significant impact on combating the fentanyl epidemic and ensuring that individuals have access to the necessary treatment and recovery resources.