Skip to main content

Portland Police Bureau Begins Taking Intoxicated People To Hospitals Instead Of Sobering Center

Central City Concern sobering cente helped 20,000 people a year in the 1980s. Last year, the sobering center helped just 37-hundred people. | KRISTIAN FODEN-VENCIL/OPB
December 30, 2019

The Portland Police Bureau has stopped taking intoxicated people to a sobering center as of Dec. 23, due to safety concerns from the nonprofit running it. The city is in the process of seeking out another agency to take over the sobering center’s contract next June.  

Last month, Central City Concern, which contracts with the city to run the sobering station at NE 444 Couch St., said the center did not have the resources to help people regarding behavioral crises — due to an uptick in more people violently acting out on drugs like methamphetamine.  

Amanda Risser, senior medical director with Central City Concern, previously told OPB that the sobering center is suited to help people who have consumed too much alcohol or taken too many drugs, but people on drugs like meth need specific medications and monitoring, which the center does not offer.  

Earlier this week, the Portland Police Bureau said it recognizes the nonprofit’s safety concerns and will no longer be taking intoxicated people to the sobering station. It will also no longer make requests to CHIERS, Central City’s transportation shuttle.  

Officers will instead take intoxicated people to area hospitals.  

“PPB’s number one priority is to provide intoxicated individuals with the safest solution and currently that is a hospital,” Portland Police Lt. Tina Jones said in a statement. “We are collaborating with all of our partners to identify a sustainable solution for those in need of sobering services.”  

Jones said the city has put out a request for information, looking for other agencies to take over the sobering center next summer.

A request for information is not a contract agreement, she said.  

“A separate competitive solicitation may result following the city’s review of the responses submitted,” the city’s request reads.  

Agencies’ information submissions are due to the city by Jan. 8.


Submitted by Barbara Moore on Tue, 01/07/2020 - 12:43 Permalink

Just another straw that is breaking our backs and ability to practice emergency medicine.  We are now babysitters for the misbehaved, overindulged meth and alcoholic, violent patients  keeping us from treating you, when you have your medical emergency.