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RESEARCHERS: Portland Should Expand Portland Street Response Team

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – After receiving positive reviews, experts say a non-police first-response unit in Portland, Oregon, has the potential to be a “citywide solution” for an alternative to non-emergency calls regarding people experiencing a mental health crisis or homelessness.

On Tuesday during a City Council work session, researchers suggested the Portland Street Response team pilot program should be expanded, following a Portland State University study that evaluated the program’s first six months.

The Portland Street Response team – which is unarmed – is comprised of a mental health crisis therapist, firefighter paramedic and two community health workers who are dispatched to 911 calls regarding mental health crises or issues surrounding the homeless population.

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