Wednesday in Portland: New data shows Multnomah County ambulance response times getting worse

Emily Scarvie
Photo by(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Wednesday, May 10 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. One dead after shooting in Portland's Hazelwood neighborhood

The Portland Police Bureau says one man is dead after a shooting in the Hazelwood neighborhood Tuesday night. Officers responded to the scene near East Burnside Street and Northeast 122nd Avenue shortly after 8 p.m. The man was already dead at the scene, according to police.

Police have not said if any arrests have been made. The victim’s identity has not been publicly released yet. If the death is ruled a homicide, it would be the 32nd of the year in Portland.

Anyone with information regarding the shooting is asked to contact Det. Scott Broughton at or 503-823-3774, or Det. Eric McDaniel at or 503-823-0833.

2. Multnomah County ambulance response times getting worse, data shows

New data from Multnomah County EMS shows that ambulance crews, operated by the county’s EMS provider American Medical Response, are getting worse at responding to emergencies on time. From September 2022 to February 2023, around one out of every three ambulances failed to respond to life-threatening Code 3 emergencies within eight minutes. These struggles are not unique to Multnomah County.

Ambulance providers AMR and Metro West have also pointed to staffing issues as a cause for the delays. Both Multnomah County and AMR agree that ambulance crews should get to 90% of emergency calls on time, but they disagree on how to solve the problem.

AMR wants to lower the standards for its staffed EMS workers by hiring Emergency Medical Technicians, who have less training and qualifications than paramedics. They’re also paid a lower rate. However, Multnomah County has stuck by a two-paramedic requirement for its ambulance crews for decades.

“It is the way the EMS is configured, we need the right resources at the right place at the right time,” Dr. John Jui, Multnomah County EMS Medical Director, told KGW. “I can tell you if I have two trained paramedics with you having a cardiac arrest, they’re going to do a better job than one medic, guaranteed.”

AMR deployed its first Basic Life Support ambulance on April 17, staffed by two EMTs rather than two paramedics. The system is designed to respond to minor, low-acuity calls. The goal is to take some of the burden off Advanced Life Support (two paramedic) crews.

3. State officials preparing for 'above-normal' fire season this year

Oregon’s hot and dry season is right around the corner and state officials are already preparing for when wildfires begin. Gov. Tina Kotek said during a press conference on Tuesday that this year’s fire season will be delayed because of the wet spring the state has had so far. But added that they’re expecting another busy wildfire season, particularly in areas that haven’t seen much precipitation, like eastern Oregon.

Kotek said the Oregon Department of Forestry has seen progress through the use of technology, which they’ll rely on again this fire season.

“We’re going to continue with our statewide smoke technology system and smoke detection cameras, and those cameras have proven to bring success,” Mike Shaw, with the Oregon Department of Forestry, said.

The agency will also have spotters to look for fires in more rural areas. Additionally, the state owns a plane that can fly after lightning storms at night to detect possible lightning-caused fires.

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