Portland, OR

Thursday in Portland: Portland Street Response directed to assist during homeless camp sweeps

Emily Scarvie

Photo by(John Moore/Getty Images)

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Thursday, April 13 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Portland Street Response will now assist during homeless camp sweeps

Mental and behavioral specialists from Portland Street Response will soon be required to provide support to homeless people when camps are cleared across the city. PSR teams usually respond to mental health calls that would’ve previously gone to police, but they’ll now be expanding their work to assist in sweeps.

“Their involvement is addressing the mental health crisis that is on scene at the same time,” Rick Graves, spokesperson for Portland Fire & Rescue, said. “It’s an ever-changing landscape that we’re addressing and we’re learning how to deal with it.”

A group at Portland State University has conducted regular reviews of PSR since the program started in early 2021. In their latest review, they said PSR should “never be used to carry out sweeps, enforce campings bans or require people go into shelter.” The group says it could jeopardize PSR’s trust with homeless people.

Portland Fire Bureau Commissioner Rene Gonzalez told KGW, “Chief Boone’s directive brings all of Portland Fire & Rescue’s divisions into alignment with existing city policy supporting Portland’s unsheltered in the transition away from unsanctioned camping. Portland Street Response provides critical low-acuity mental and behavioral health services, and today’s decision supports that mission.”

2. New restaurants, shops coming to PDX starting next year

This week, Portland International Airport announced a lineup of 20 restaurants and shops coming to the expanded main terminal over the next few years. Seven of the brands announced are already at PDX but will relocate to new permanent homes. The other 13 businesses includes a woman-owned, woman-run distillery, craft cocktails, wood-fired pizza and more.

The list of newcomers includes Freeland Spirits, Grassa, Sizzle Pie, Portland Gear, KURE Superfoods, Oven and Shaker, Straightaway Cocktails, Steven Smith Teamaker and more.

The existing businesses that will move into new spaces in the main terminal include Blue Star, Capers Bistro, Columbia Sportswear, The Country Cat, Pendleton, Portland Coffee Roasters (two locations) and Stumptown Coffee.

A dozen of the businesses will begin opening in May 2024, with the remainder set to open by December 2025.

3. Stride for Seniors event returns to Portland International Raceway

Meals on Wheels People’s Stride for Seniors returns to Portland International Raceway this weekend. The annual event is aimed at ending food insecurity and social isolation for homebound Oregonians.

“It’s our big walk to call attention to the issues facing older adults in our community, both hunger as well as social isolation. So, we’re hoping we get hundreds, thousands of people out to raceway,” Meals for Wheels People CEO Suzanne Washington said.

The Stride for Seniors event features a pancake breakfast, a libation station and activities for kids. It runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Portland International Raceway.

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