Amanda Fritz – candidate for Portland City Council, position 1

In your future office, what powers will you use to affect positive change in mental health services? What changes will you pursue?

Amanda Fritz

Amanda Fritz

I will continue to pursue better mental health care services, and a more functional mental health care system. I was a Registered Nurse who worked in psychiatry for 26 years, including 22 years at OHSU, prior to serving on the Portland City Council since 2009. I care deeply and passionately about people experiencing mental illnesses. I bring the most experience in mental health care issues to the City Council of any candidate or current Council member.

I will continue to collaborate with Multnomah County, Cascadia Behavioral Health, NAMI Multnomah, FolkTime, and peer advocates, to improve and coordinate mental health care services. I am a crucial leader in the Safer PDX project, seeking to reduce interactions between police and people experiencing mental illnesses. No other candidate can do what I have done, or what I will continue to do to improve the community mental health care and 911 response systems. The Safer PDX project is half way through a three year work plan. We didn’t get into this mess in three years, and it will take more than three years to find solutions. Please help me continue this crucial work for a second term.

Improving services for people with mental illnesses is vital for the City’s budget and worth the investment of taxpayers’ money, since the alternative is police intervention which in recent years has proven more costly both in human terms and lawsuit settlements. We can and must do better.

I am the City’s lead representative working with County and community partners on the Safer PDX project, funded by the Bazelon Law Institute, and I am needed to continue this work.

We are halfway through a three year project to analyze and make improvements in service provision, to reduce interactions between police and people experiencing mental illness. I need a second term to finish this work and create a system that works better for everyone. My experience in psychiatry, coupled with my observations over three years working with Portland Police, makes me far-and-away the best candidate to continue this work. No other candidate or continuing member of the Council can pick up and continue this crucial work with the same passion and qualifications.

I have been instrumental in persuading Portland Police to switch to the “Sanctuary model” of approaching people with suicidal urges, in their new “step back” protocol. We must figure out together, politicians and police and care providers and peer advocates, how to prevent instances of “suicide by cop” and minimize instances where police have to be first responders to people in mental health crisis.

I will continue supporting funding for City programs that provide drug and alcohol treatment and wrap-around care for people experiencing mental illnesses, such as the Service Coordination Team (SCT) and Central City Concern (CCC).

I supported and was effective in securing allocations for continued and enhanced funding for Hooper Detox, the SCT and CCC

I will seek more funding for peer support programs like Northstar House and FolkTime, and 24/7 staffing for the Cascadia drop-in clinic.

The mental health care system in Multnomah County is badly broken. I have the experience, passion and credibility based on my nursing career, to be the leader for the City in working with the County and community advocates to fix the problems and create a system that works for people in need.

I would appreciate your support in my re-election campaign, to allow me to continue this crucial work. See, and please join my campaign.