Oregon addiction care advocates decry ‘unconscionable’ M110 grant-making delays

Portland Business Journal – Apr 7, 2022 

Monta Knudson is one of hundreds of addiction services providers who scrambled to apply by the late December deadline for grants under the voter-approved Measure 110.

He and the others had expected decisions to be announced in early February. Two months later, the providers still have no idea if their grants will be approved, nor do they know when the funds will arrive, a delay that has potentially cast dozens of programs in jeopardy.

“Nobody knows where their grant stands,” Knudson, who is executive director of Portland-based Bridges to Change, said in a Thursday interview. “At the very least, if they could notify folks of their awards, some organizations can carry the costs. One of the things I heard that OHA said was, ‘We’ll get this out in the fall and make it right’ — but there won’t be some providers left to make it right with, because they will have to shut down operations.”

Measure 110, a first-in-the-nation initiative that passed in November 2020, both decriminalized small amounts of street drugs and diverted marijuana tax money into substance use services including harm reduction, low-barrier treatment, supported housing and peer support and recovery programs.

The Measure 110 Oversight and Accountability Council, made up of volunteers largely from behavioral health organizations, is charged with distributing $270 million in grants to establish Behavioral Health Resource Networks in every Oregon county, with an emphasis on communities most harmed by the War on Drugs. The council last year distributed about $31 million in grants to assist providers through the end of 2021 before the resource networks were set up.