Behavioral Health Resource Center – news stories Spring 2023

Staff drug use, alleged misconduct shuttered Multnomah County behavioral health center, now reopened – Oregonian, April 2023

Security concerns and misconduct among contracted staff shuttered Multnomah County’s Behavioral Health Resource Center in downtown Portland late last month, county staff acknowledged for the first time on Monday, the day of the center’s reopening.

Earlier this month, a spokesperson for the county said no single incident precipitated the pause in services at the center, which opened in December to help unsheltered Portlanders connect with mental health and substance use treatment while accessing bathrooms, laundry service and showers.

But a press release from the county Monday said the center at 333 SW Park Ave. closed after a March 29 complaint claimed employees of county contractors who worked at the site were involved in “inappropriate relationships with other staff” and using drugs at work. No clients were reported to be involved in the misconduct.

Multnomah County Says Staff at Behavioral Health Resource Center Downtown Needs More Training for Volume of Crises – Willamette Week, April 2023

The center abruptly shut down last week.

Late last week, Multnomah County temporarily shut down its flagship behavioral health day center in downtown Portland. Today, county officials offered WW a more detailed explanation why: the volume of overdoses and mental health crises that occur daily at the center, which offers homeless Portlanders a place to rest, shower, wash clothes, and speak with staffers who have experienced their own similar struggles.

In short, staffers at the center found themselves unprepared for the high number of drug overdoses and behavioral health outbursts their clients experience daily.

“We have incidents every day—including overdoses, overdose correction, and behavioral health incidents—as we try to serve people in our community with the greatest needs,” says county spokeswoman Julie Sullivan-Springhetti. “But we don’t have any one incident of a client being harmed that prompted the closing.”

The county pays the nonprofit Mental Health & Addiction Association of Oregon to staff and manage the center, which serves around 1,000 clients per day. Much of the funding comes from the Metro supportive housing services measure that this year infused Multnomah County’s homelessness budget with an additional $107 million.

Portland behavioral health center closes amid expansion, staff training –, March 2023

The Behavioral Health Center in downtown Portland, which is funded by Multnomah County taxpayers, is closed for two weeks to add shelter beds and train staff, according to the county.

The center, which closed March 30 and is slated to reopen on April 17, is run by two contractors, Multnomah County said.

In a statement to KOIN 6 News, Multnomah County officials said, in part, that infrastructure needed to be addressed along with staff training — including providing trauma-informed services, administering Narcan and when to call law enforcement.

“There are incidents at the day center every day, including overdoses, overdose correction and behavioral health incidents as we try to serve people in our community with the greatest needs,” the county added. “We did receive information that the contracted staff on site needed more training at the same time that it became clear the building needed physical improvements.”

‘Kind of shocked me’: Homeless people left in the dark after Portland resource center closes –, March 2023

The nonprofit that operates the day center cited the need for staff training for overdoses, administering Narcan and knowing when to call for help.

From the outside, a building on the corner of Southwest Park and Oak Street in downtown Portland blends right in, yet it’s a new lifeline for those sleeping on the sidewalks.

“It’s actually extremely helpful even just to go in there for like an hour or so just to get out of the cold weather,” said Dean, who said he’s been homeless for about five months.

Dean has visited the Multnomah County Behavioral Health Resource Center about three times since it opened in December. He was pushing his cart full of supplies, including a tent and tarp, on his way to the center Wednesday only to find that it would be closed until April 17.

“It’s sad, there isn’t anything like that around here anymore,” he said. “I was on my way here to use the facilities.”

“That kind of, like, shocked me. I was like, ‘Aw’ … I came here to run into some people, maybe try to sign up for a shower or something,” added another homeless man named Zach. He sleeps around the corner and has come to rely on the center.

Downtown Portland behavioral health center closes suddenly for two weeks – Oregonian March 2023

A downtown Portland drop-in center for people experiencing homelessness abruptly shut its doors Thursday afternoon in order to spend more than two weeks upgrading the facility and training staff.

Multnomah County opened the Behavioral Health Resource Center less than four months ago as a day center where people living unsheltered could warm up, use the bathrooms, wash laundry, take showers and possibly start the process of getting mental health and substance use treatment. It will remain closed until April 17.

Portland businesses clash with Multnomah County’s new Behavioral Health Resource Center –, March 2023

It’s been three months since Multnomah County’s Behavioral Health Resource Center opened. As first reported by our news partners at Willamette Week, things are not going well for nearby businesses.

Steve Lien says he’s fighting to save the West End neighborhood. Lien owns underU4men, an underwear and swimwear shop a few blocks from the BHRC. As Lien gave us a tour of his store, a man was slumped over on the sidewalk just below his window.

“When I arrived, he was in the process of smoking fentanyl,” said Lien. “I almost wish I had Narcan, and I could make it so it wouldn’t work for him anymore, but that probably isn’t the right thing to do.”

Multnomah County finds partner to run shelter at downtown Behavioral Health Resource Center –, March 2023

Do Good Multnomah will operate the 52-bed facility in downtown Portland, offering a combination of bridge housing and behavioral health support for homeless people.

Multnomah County on Wednesday announced a step forward in the ongoing response to chronic homelessness, adding 24-hour temporary housing to the Behavioral Health Resource Center in downtown Portland.

The center at 333 Southwest Park Avenue opened late last year, and has thus far offered day services to people experiencing homelessness through housing and employment assistance, as well as access to showers, laundry and lockers.