Portland, OR

Tuesday in Portland: Dispatcher shortage causes delays for 911 callers in Portland and more

Emily Scarvie

(Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Tuesday, June 7 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Shortage of dispatchers causes delays for 911 callers in Portland

Due to staffing shortages at the Portland Bureau of Emergency Communications, Portlanders calling 911 may have to wait longer than they’re used to, and even longer for the non-emergency police line. According to PBOEC Public Information Officer Dan Douthit, some people were waiting for up to two-and-a-half hours last Friday for the non-emergency number. But it’s not just non-emergency callers being impacted.

“We’ve had situations where callers have been waiting several minutes or more for emergency calls, which is completely unacceptable, so we’re working to try and address that as soon as we can,” Douthit told KATU.

A recent PBOEC director’s report shows that only around 37% of 911 calls in Portland are being answered within 20 seconds, which is the national standard. Douthit said the bureau has new hires in the training pipeline, but the shortage of dispatchers is impacting how quickly they train new ones.

2. Local law enforcement agencies seeking suspect believed to be responsible for 30 robberies

Portland-area law enforcement agencies are looking for a serial robbery suspect responsible for 30 robberies at coffee shops, hotels, auto parts stores, take-out restaurants, a cosmetics store, gas stations and at least one adult store between April 7 and June 6. Investigators from multiple agencies across the Portland area believe the same suspect is responsible. Vancouver police said surveillance video was captured at several of the robberies.

The suspect is described as a white adult male, around 30-35 years of age, between 5’8 and 5’10, 160 lbs., with brown hair and a brown beard. He’s usually wearing a face covering and baseball cap. The suspect enters the establishment, shows a handgun and demands cash. Anyone who sees the suspect or has information on his whereabouts is asked to call 911.

3. Fleet Week, Grand Floral Parade coming to Portland this week

The 2022 Portland Rose Festival is currently underway and there are lots of events coming up this week. The Fred Meyer Junior Parade will take place from 1-3 p.m. on Wednesday in northeast Portland’s Hollywood District. Wednesday is also the start of Fleet Week and Portlanders will be able to catch a glimpse of visiting vessels from the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and Royal Canadian Navy.

On Friday, one of the 15 young women selected from Portland metro area schools to be on the Rose Festival Court will be crowned Queen of Rosaria during the Queen’s Coronation at Peninsula Park. The festival’s grand finale, the Spirit Mountain Casino Grand Floral Parade, will take place on Saturday at 10 a.m. For more Rose Festival events, click here.

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