6/8/2023 News Roundup


<<Portland City Council approved a new policy that criminalizes homeless camping Wednesday.

The ordinance bans camping on public property from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and introduces stricter rules on camping during all other hours.>>

<<Opponents, including people currently experiencing homelessness, said the proposal sets unrealistic expectations on people who may struggle to pack up, carry and secure their belongings during the daytime. Civil rights attorneys warned city commissioners that the policy may open the city to legal challenges, as it might violate both state and federal law.>>

<<Portland already prohibits camping on public property outright, but city attorneys say this rule needs an update as it’s likely in violation of a new Oregon law. House Bill 3115, which passed the Legislature in 2021, requires cities make “objectively reasonable” rules about when, where and how people can sit and lie outdoors on public property. By allowing people to camp during some hours — 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. — city attorneys believe the new rule will meet that “objectively reasonable” requirement.

While the policy allows for public camping during the night, it comes with new limitations. The rule bans nighttime camping in parks, on public docks, along riverbanks, near busy streets, or in areas within 250 feet of a school or city-sanctioned homeless village. It also prohibits blocking an entire sidewalk with a tent. The city has not shared any information with the public about where someone can legally set up a tent between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. The policy also limits what people can do at their camping spot. People sleeping outside cannot build a fire, use a gas heater, build temporary structures, litter, or dig into the ground at their camping location.

They’re also prohibited from disassembling or selling more than three bikes or more than two cars — a rule meant to address the number of chop shops associated with homeless encampments across the city.

If people violate any of these new rules twice, they will be given a written warning from a Portland police officer. If they violate the camping policy three times, police can fine them up to $100 or sentence them to jail for up to 30 days.

According to Wheeler, the ban will not be immediately enforced once it’s effective next month. He said penalties will be “phased in” after city outreach workers spend time educating people experiencing homelessness about the new rule. The mayor’s office does not have a timeline for when that phasing in process will end and enforcement will begin.>>

Commissioner Carmen Rubio was the only member of council to vote against the policy.

“This council had a public discussion last year about our values related to camping bans… and we committed to exclude any provisions that would criminalize people solely for being homeless,” Rubio said. “It’s not clear to me at this time if this ordinance maintains that commitment.”>>

<<According to Multnomah County data, the county currently has 2,000 shelter beds open to the public, and around 90% of those are usually occupied. As of January, nearly 4,000 people were estimated to be sleeping unsheltered in the county on a given night.>>


<<The Portland City Council voted 3 to 1 on Wednesday to ban people from camping on public land during daytime hours within the city and to prohibit camping at all times near schools and other specific locations.

The ordinance, put forth by Mayor Ted Wheeler, comes as the city is seeking to comply by July 1 with a state law that requires local governments to write “objectively reasonable” rules to allow people to sit, lie, sleep and keep warm and dry on public property in places like Portland that don’t have enough shelter beds to serve all unhoused individuals.

Under the ordinance, people considered involuntarily homeless will only be allowed to camp from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. in certain areas and will be required to dismantle their campsites during the day. They will be restricted from pitching tents at any time near schools, day care centers, pedestrian plazas, shelter and construction sites, high-speed roads, parks, greenways and numerous other locations.

People who violate the rules more than two times — or more than twice build fires, obstruct private property or leave trash around campsites—could face fines of up to $100 or up to 30 days in jail, according to the ordinance.

The new rules will go into effect in 30 days, but the city doesn’t plan to begin enforcement until mid-July. Mayor Ted Wheeler said the city will spend the next few months focused on reaching out to unhoused individuals to educate them about the new rules.

“These reasonable restrictions, coupled with our work on increasing shelter availability along with access to services, are a step in the right direction toward a revitalized Portland,” Wheeler said prior to voting in favor of the ordinance.

The City Council’s approval of the new rules comes a week after more than 100 people testified during a five-hour hearing on the ordinance, with most speakers urging the city to not move forward with what many described as inhumane regulations.>>

<<The ordinance marks Wheeler’s latest aggressive attempt to limit where individuals experiencing homelessness sleep or place their belongings and comes as the city still doesn’t have anywhere close to the number of shelter beds available to meet the need of unhoused individuals.

There are more than 6,000 people experiencing homelessness in Multnomah County, according to this year’s federally required tally of unhoused people. Of those, nearly 4,000 are unsheltered.

The county has around 2,000 shelter beds, according to county data. Portland is seeking to open a series of large city-regulated outdoor camps with the first slated to open this summer. But it’s unclear when others may open.

Portland’s Safe Rest Villages, which are smaller alternative shelters, have been slow to open since Portland Commissioner Dan Ryan first announced intentions to open six by the end of 2021. Only three have opened thus far while another two – the Queer Affinity and BIPOC villages – were revamped, relocated and brought under the umbrella of the Safe Rest Village Program. Another village has been built and is slated to open soon.

Given the history of that slow progress, quickly opening up even larger sites is ambitious.

Commissioner Carmen Rubio was the sole City Council member who voted against the ordinance Wednesday. She said the city shouldn’t have approved the measure until it built more shelter sites, expanded capacity at places where people can go during the day to get food, services and shelter, and trained police on how to carry out the new rules in a dignified manner.

“I need to make sure this ordinance does not cause harm,” Rubio said.

“It is not clear to me if this ordinance maintains our prior commitment not to criminalize people who are homeless.”

Ryan and Commissioner Rene Gonzalez both said it is important that the city ensure that unhoused individuals who want help receive the services they need, but also said that the city needs to push out unhoused people who refuse services or commit crimes.

“We must be honest with ourselves, many people on the streets are refusing services,” Ryan said. “They need accountability.”>>

<<A survey of 300 unsheltered Portlanders commissioned by The Oregonian/ OregonLive in late 2021 found that 91% of them had experienced a sweep of their campsite. Of those, 95% said they were not offered temporary shelter, transitional or permanent housing or other services to meet their immediate needs though most reported in the survey wanting and needing help.

Since the survey was conducted, the city and county have increased shelter capacity and outreach efforts. However, those efforts haven’t been able to keep up with the county’s growth in homelessness.

The number of people experiencing homelessness in Multnomah County increased 20% from January 2022 to January 2023, from 5,228 to 6,297, the new federally mandated count found. That’s an alarming 57% increase from the 2019 count that occurred just before the start of the pandemic.>>


<<Hours into a Wednesday afternoon Portland City Council session, commissioners voted to pass an ordinance banning homeless camps during daytime hours while banning them altogether in certain areas of the city.

The proposed ordinance came up for public testimony last week, drawing a large and often boisterous audience and hours of impassioned debate.

While speakers fell on both sides of the issue, more people expressed opposition at the microphone. More than half of the written testimony was in favor.>>

<<Ultimately, the ordinance passed with yes votes from Ryan, Gonzalez and Wheeler. Though Mapps was not present to vote, he asked Wheeler to read a statement in support of the ordinance. Rubio was the lone no vote.>>

<<The ordinance prohibits homeless people from camping on city property between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. — requiring that tents and other belongings be dismantled and removed by those daytime hours.

The ordinance also imposes permanent bans on camping in a “pedestrian use zone,” within 250 feet of schools or childcare centers, in the public right-of-way along city-designated high crash corridors and around city parks, including city-sponsored shelter sites.

Gas heaters in campsites are likewise banned at all times, along with obstruction of access to a private property or business next to a public right-of-way, damage to the environment and accumulation of garbage.

The city said it will be implemented starting in late July at the earliest, in a “phased-in approach.>>

<<Under the ordinance, the Portland Police Bureau could issue citations for violations. The first and second violations — which must be separated by at least 24 hours — would earn written warnings. The third and subsequent violations could result in a fine of $100 or less, jail time of 30 days or less, or both.

Enforcement of the ban remains the most nebulous aspect. The ordinance empowers Portland police to issue citations, even make arrests after three violations. But city officials have frequently gestured to staffing shortages at the Portland Police Bureau limiting their response to more significant crimes, so it’s unclear how they would have the resources to respond to violations of the camping ban.

Gonzalez told KGW Tuesday that “almost no one’s going to jail over this,” but nonetheless said that the ban will help police enforce the removal of tents.>>

<<Commissioner Rubio, the only no vote, had proposed an amendment to the ordinance, delaying the start of the camping ban until the city successfully opened two of its large sanctioned camps. She reasoned that people would need somewhere to go, and nonprofits that provide homeless services would need time to prepare and bring up the capacity of shelters. >>


<<“I know that the mayor’s intent here is not to put in place a green light to arrest people,” Rubio said.>>

<<Rubio noted the council agreed last year not to include any provisions in its rules that “would criminalize people, solely for being homeless.”>>

<<While city leaders say the ordinance is a necessary step to connect people with services and prohibit them from living in the streets and public spaces, the practicality and legality of the ordinance remains to be seen. >>

<<Wheeler’s office said the city believes the ordinance is legally sound, but attorneys with the Oregon Law Center, a nonprofit group that assists low-income people in need of legal help, asserts the ordinance doesn’t meet legal muster.

“This ordinance is not objectively reasonable, when you look at [time, place and manner],” Ed Johnson, director of litigation for the Oregon Law Center, told the Mercury. “When you look at the list of places that you can’t sleep or stay warm and dry, it’s almost impossible to find any place that you can.”

According to Johnson, absent new signage that would litter the city in every direction, it could be nearly impossible to know which areas are prohibited.

“Laws have to be understandable, not only to the people enforcing them, but also to the people following it, so they know whether they’re following it or not,” Johnson added. “I think this ordinance is unconstitutionally vague. It’s impossible for someone to know when they are in an illegal spot, based on the shifting definitions in the ordinance.”

Conversely, Commissioner Rene Gonzalez posited the ordinance doesn’t go far enough in its prohibitions, but also acknowledged the ordinance is cumbersome and confusing.

“The code changes are going to be very difficult to explain, much less operationalize,” the commissioner wrote in a tweet summarizing a series of recommended changes. Gonzalez never brought his amendments to council for consideration, citing a lack of support from other commissioners.

The ordinance will likely rely on the Portland Police Bureau to carry out the ban, raising questions about the city’s capacity for enforcement, given the bureau’s staffing constraints. Last week, the mayor and police chief cited limited police staffing, among other reasons, for abandoning a gunshot detection technology pilot program. >>



<<Someone left a dead raccoon and a sign with “intimidating language” that mentioned a Black city councilor outside the law office of an Oregon mayor, police said.

Redmond Mayor Ed Fitch found the raccoon and the sign on Monday, the Redmond Police Department said in a news release. The sign mentioned Fitch and Redmond City Councilor Clifford Evelyn by name, police said.

Fitch called the sign’s language “racially hateful.” He declined to elaborate but told The Bulletin, “I feel bad for Clifford. It seems there’s some people in town that can’t accept the fact that Clifford is Black and is on the City Council.”

Police aren’t revealing the sign’s exact language in order to maintain the integrity of the investigation, city spokesperson Heather Cassaro said. Police said they are investigating the act as a potential hate crime.

Evelyn, a retired law enforcement officer who was elected to the council in 2021, described the act as a hate crime but said he has confidence in the police investigation, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

Raccoon imagery has long been an insulting, anti-Black caricature in the United States. With roots in slavery, it’s among “the most blatantly degrading of all Black stereotypes,” according to the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Imagery in Michigan.

In recent years, a Black Redmond teenager found a threatening message on her doorstep, while a failed Deschutes County Commission candidate displayed a Confederate flag at the city’s Fourth of July parade.

“The people in this part of the country are just gonna have to catch up,” Evelyn said. “It’s just the knuckleheads that can’t get on track. And they’re causing harm to everyone and making us look bad.”>>


<<Police are investigating a potential bias crime after Redmond Mayor Ed Fitch reportedly found a dead raccoon and a sign with “intimidating language” directed at him and another city councilor on the front door of his office Monday morning.

The Redmond Police Department said in a press release that the sign mentioned Fitch and Councilor Clifford Evelyn by name. Police provided a photo but intentionally blurred what the sign says “to maintain the integrity of the investigation,” said Heather Cassaro, a city spokeswoman.>>



<<In 2021, Rhonda Burke was booked twice in one week in Clackamas County Jail, charged with violating a restraining order. Burke suffered from schizophrenia and was agitated and delusional. A nurse ordered her to be monitored around the clock.

Three days into her second stay at the jail, Burke died by suicide. A wrongful death lawsuit filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Portland alleges her death was due to negligent care by jail staff.

Burke had been placed in isolation within two days of her second booking in jail. And, the lawsuit alleges, she was denied medication to treat her acute alcohol withdrawal. As she banged on the walls of her cell in agony, neighboring inmates screamed at her to kill herself, the legal filing says. Around 30 hours later, she died by suicide.

On May 16, her family filed a $20 million lawsuit accusing Clackamas County, its Alabama-based medical contractor NaphCare, and their employees of “gross negligence.” The facility was short-staffed and there was no licensed physician present at the time of Burke’s death, the lawsuit alleges.>>

<<The lawsuit treads familiar ground. Jermelle Madison Jr., 23, hanged himself in Clackamas County Jail two months later. He was suffering from a mental health crisis and had told arresting officers he was going to kill himself. After his suicide, protesters took to the streets demanding to know why he hadn’t been put on suicide watch.

NaphCare, which operates nationwide and recently contracted with Washington and Clackamas counties, has long faced similar accusations across the country. Last year, New York state regulators slammed the company’s “deficient” care following the suicide of a 27-year-old woman.

A jury in Washington awarded a $27 million settlement to the family of a man who died while withdrawing from heroin in a Spokane County jail last year.

Washington County is also facing ongoing litigation. The family of Dale Thomsen has accused the county and NaphCare of negligence after the 58-year-old man was found dead in his cell. He was not given a medical exam despite his family warning the jail he was an alcoholic and suffered from a brain injury, the lawsuit alleges.>>


<<A federal magistrate has ordered that former Oregon Gov. Kate Brown can be deposed in a class-action lawsuit, specifically regarding her role in how the state responded to the coronavirus pandemic inside its prisons.

It’s the first time a current or former Oregon governor has been ordered to sit for a deposition in a civil case related to policy decisions during their time in office.

The litigation, first filed in April 2020, represents a massive financial liability for the state. The lawsuit covers about 5,000 people who were in custody at one of the state’s prisons and contracted COVID-19. A separate wrongful death class covers the estates of 45 others who were in prison at the time they died from the disease.>>

Attorneys representing those in custody want to ask the former governor – under oath – about her decision to close two prisons during the pandemic and about information Brown received regarding an early release program plaintiffs’ attorney argue “did not meaningfully reduce the prison population.”

“Those decisions are central to plaintiffs’ claims in the case, which allege that the Oregon Department of Corrections and the governor were deliberately indifferent to serious medical needs and health and safety of people in prison during the pandemic,” Nadia Dahab, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, said late Wednesday.>>


<<Former Gov. Kate Brown will be compelled to answer questions in a deposition as part of a pending case that alleges she and the state failed to protect Oregon prisoners during the COVID-19 pandemic, a judge ruled Wednesday.

The ruling will make her the first Oregon governor, either current or former, to be deposed in a civil case, according to attorney Anit K. Jindal, who argued on behalf of the state. >>

<<A class-action suit accuses Brown and other state officials of acting with “deliberate indifference” to the health and safety of inmates during the pandemic. A trial is set to start July 2024.>>

<<The plaintiffs seek to ask Brown about her knowledge of the state’s actions regarding the spread of the coronavirus in Oregon’s prisons while she served as governor, the judge wrote.

Their suit alleges that the state violated the inmates’ Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment by failing to provide adequate health care during the pandemic and by operating prisons without the capacity to treat, test or prevent spread of the virus. The suit also alleges state corrections officials were negligent in not carrying out proper preventive measures.

They contend the state failed to adopt COVID-19 safety measures, such as ensuring that inmates and staff wore masks when required, enforcing social distancing or those with symptoms were quarantined.

Beckerman previously held that state leaders can face liability claims if they didn’t carry out safety measures according to policies adopted to stem the tide of COVID-19.

Lawyers for the state argued that the state made a good-faith effort to address a significant problem and that Brown commuted the sentences of more than 120 adult inmates, allowing their early release to reduce the prison population, shortly after she declared a state of emergency amid the pandemic.

They also have described some of the steps the Corrections Department took during the pandemic, including buying 60,000 cloth masks for staff and inmates, creating respiratory clinics and quarantining exposed prisoners.

In a separate order, the judge also ordered Kevin Gleim, the former attorney for special projects in the governor’s office, to be available for deposition.

Those suing allege that other states and experts widely viewed the release of adults in custody at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic as critical to preventing the spread of the virus in prisons but contend Oregon and Brown “did not engage in meaningful population reduction measures,” the judge pointed out.

As a result, the information Brown and others received in connection with the early release program and her decision to close two prisons during the pandemic is relevant, Beckerman wrote. The two prisons that were shuttered were Shutter Creek Correctional Institution and Mill Creek Correctional Facility.>>


<<Amanda Stott-Smith died Sunday in Coffee Creek Correctional Facility where she was serving a life sentence for dropping her two children off the Sellwood Bridge. Her son, age 4, drowned and her daughter, 7, survived.

Stott-Smith was 45. The Oregon Department of Corrections did not explain how she died.>>



<<The Portland Police Bureau is trying to seize $30,462 from Shroom House after raiding its West Burnside storefront last December. Police are using a process called civil forfeiture, which allows police to seize property suspected of being involved in a crime.

Police busted the store on December 8, accusing the operators of illegally selling psychedelic mushrooms.>>


<<A six-month investigation into a possible drug den in NE Portland has led to the arrests of four people, according to the Portland Police Bureau.

Officials say an investigation began half a year ago after the East Precinct began receiving complaints of a possible drug dealing operation at a home in the 14100 block of Northeast Halsey Street.

PPB says following a prolonged investigation by the Neighborhood Response Team, a Multnomah County Judge approved a search warrant for the home.

The search ended in the recovery of the following:

    19 Firearms – two of which were stolen, multiple rifles, and a TEC-9

    Multiple high-capacity magazines

    Large quantities of ammunition in multiple calibers

    Body armor

    761g Methamphetamine

    486g Fentanyl

    21g Heroin

    12g Cocaine

    Stolen Moped

    Over $13,000 in cash

Investigators are now collecting DNA evidence from the guns, according to PPB.

Following the raid, 52-year-old Tracie Ann Harbison was arrested and charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Distribution of Methamphetamine, Possession of Heroin, Distribution of Heroin, Possession of Cocaine, Distribution of Cocaine, Possession of a Schedule II Drug, Distribution of a Schedule II Drug, Possession of a Stolen Vehicle, and Theft by Receiving.

43-year-old Michael Patrick Llanos was arrested and charged with eight counts of Felon in Possession of a Firearm, two counts of Felon in Possession of Body Armor, Attempted Manufacture/Delivery of a Controlled Substance, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Methamphetamine, and Attempted Delivery of Methamphetamine.

45-year-old Kristi Collum was arrested and cited for eight counts of Felon in Possession of a Firearm and two counts of Felon in Possession of Body Armor.

33-year-old Zachary Smith was arrested and cited for Possession of Methamphetamine.

PPB says the investigation is still underway with additional charges still possible.>>



<<Within the past two weeks, agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have placed phone calls to staff within the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office, according to multiple people with knowledge of the communications.

The calls come as federal authorities have opened a criminal inquiry related to former Secretary of State Shemia Fagan and her relationship with Rosa Cazares and Aaron Mitchell, the co-founders of the embattled cannabis dispensary chain La Mota. In February, Fagan went to work for the couple, who also were top donors to her campaign. One week after WW broke the news of her contract, Fagan resigned.

Within the past week, the U.S. Department of Justice issued subpoenas to several state agencies, seeking records related to Fagan and La Mota ahead of the empaneling of a federal grand jury later this month.

Agencies subpoenaed include the Oregon Government Ethics Commission and the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission. The Oregonian first reported Monday evening that the feds were investigating, and said the Secretary of State’s Office and the Oregon Department of Revenue had also been subpoenaed.>>

<<That federal investigators are contacting state employees is the latest development in the saga of a disgraced politician and the outsized influence of Cazares and Mitchell, who contributed heavily to leading Democratic candidates for the past three years. The couple, who moved to Oregon from Florida around 2009, contributed more than $200,000 to top Democrats, including Fagan, Gov. Tina Kotek, Senate President Rob Wagner of Portland, and U.S. Rep. Val Hoyle. Much of that money, as WW has previously reported, was delivered in stacks of cash.

Two state investigations into Fagan and her relationship with Cazares and Mitchell began earlier. The Ethics Commission is investigating Fagan’s consulting contract with the couple, and the Oregon Department of Justice has hired a California firm to investigate a state audit of the OLCC that Fagan oversaw, directing auditors to interview Cazares, then recusing herself from the audit after it was substantially complete.>>


<<Federal criminal investigators are looking into former Secretary of State Shemia Fagan and the two cannabis entrepreneurs she briefly worked for, records show.

According to subpoenas released by the Oregon Department of Justice on Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in late May sent demands to five state agencies for records concerning Fagan and the owners of the La Mota cannabis chain, Aaron Mitchell and Rosa Cazares.

Fagan stepped down on May 8 after revelations she’d taken on private consulting work for Mitchell and Cazares as her office prepared an audit of state cannabis regulations that was seen as extremely favorable to cannabis companies.

The state is pursuing two inquiries into that arrangement — one on whether Fagan broke state ethics laws and another on the audit her agency carried out — but now federal authorities want to know if any crimes occurred.>>

<<When Fagan began looking for side work to supplement her $77,000 salary as secretary, Cazares offered a consulting contract worth at least $10,000 a month. For that sum, Fagan said she did basic research into various state’s cannabis laws — excluding Oregon — in order to help Cazares and Mitchell expand their business.

Fagan has insisted that the arrangement was legal, noting she recused herself from her agency’s audit of OLCC cannabis regulations before signing on as a consultant. But records show the audit was largely complete by that point, and the report gave credence to complaints Cazares had voiced to Fagan and others about the agency.

Fagan never got a formal opinion from state ethics officials about whether the consulting arrangement was in line with state ethics rules, though she did request information on past ethics opinions about accepting side work.>>


<<Wide-ranging federal subpoenas issued May 24 and obtained by WW show U.S. Department of Justice investigators are seeking extensive information about former Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan and Rosa Cazares and Aaron Mitchell—the co-founders of the La Mota cannabis chain. Fagan began moonlighting for a La Mota affiliate in February as a private consultant.

The subpoenas request that five state agencies—the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission, the Departments of Administrative Services and Revenue, the Secretary of State’s Office, and the Oregon Government Ethics Commission—provide “all information, records, and documents…relating to the individuals and entities listed below” ahead of a grand jury proceeding June 21 at the United States Courthouse in Portland.

Three names are listed: Fagan, Cazares and Mitchell.>>


<<The Oregon Department of Justice has hired a California consulting firm to conduct an investigation into the audit former Secretary of State Shemia Fagan oversaw of the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission—even as she took a lucrative consulting job with a cannabis outfit at odds with those regulators.

That moonlighting, when reported by WW, brought an abrupt end to Fagan’s promising political career. And the validity of the audit came under intense questioning when WW broke the news April 27 that Fagan had in February accepted a $10,000-a-month consulting contract with the founders of the second-largest dispensary chain in the state, La Mota—and helped shape the audit around the desires of La Mota’s CEO, Rosa Cazares. Fagan resigned May 2.

The DOJ hired Sjoberg Evashenk Consulting in May to conduct the investigation into the audit and whether it’s an objective document free of undue influence. The state will pay the firm up to $60,000 for the investigation.

One of the primary duties of the secretary of state is to oversee audits of state agencies. Records released last month by the state show that Fagan recused herself from the OLCC audit so she could take the La Mota contract, but did so after the audit was already completed. Those records also show that Fagan as early as January 2021 pressed staff at the Audits Division to speak with Cazares about the scope of the audit.

Cazares subsequently told audit staff in 2022 that the believed the OLCC to be sexist, punitive and unfair to communities of color.>>



<<U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman ruled June 5 that Oregon State Hospital’s accelerated early release timelines may not be extended when patients refuse treatment.

Mosman had ordered the timelines last year as part of a compromise between the state health authority and advocates seeking to minimize the time mentally ill criminal defendants must wait in jail for a bed to come available at the beleaguered state psychiatric institution.

Several local judges have pressed the issue in recent months, demanding the state psychiatric hospital hold patients beyond the one-year limit if they refuse to take their medication, designed to restore them to competency so they can face trial. (A Washington County judge ruled last week that a woman accused of murder should be kept at the hospital for almost another year because the hospital had not, until recently, been involuntarily medicating her.)

But in his Monday ruling, Mosman refused to budge, noting that state statute says the timelines are “measured from the defendant’s initial custody date.”

Attorneys for Metropolitan Public Defender and Disability Rights Oregon, which have advocated for the early releases to shorten a lengthening waitlist at the hospital, slammed the local judges’ decisions in a memorandum filed June 2, arguing that doctors’ treatment decisions shouldn’t affect the length of patients’ stays.

“Allowing judges to second-guess those decisions, and extend the duration of a patient’s confinement whenever they deem the choices to be wrong, threatens to undermine the entire purpose of this Court’s remedial order as well as established legal jurisprudence,” they wrote.>>



<<The city of Portland’s 311 program helps route non-emergency calls made by Portlanders to various city services that aren’t related to police or fire. In recent years, the City Council has aimed to offload a higher number of non-emergency calls to the program to lessen the burden on 911 call-takers.

Last year, the city allocated $521,000 in one-time dollars to staff an overnight shift at 311 for two years. But to date, the program hasn’t staffed the shift and has spent none of those dollars.

In budget documents, the program cited “hiring difficulties,” a common problem, and offered a more startling excuse: “the need to manage public expectations regarding a service that may be discontinued after one year.”

Office of Management & Finance spokeswoman Carrie Belding says the city doesn’t want to set “an expectation that [Portlanders] would reach a live-answer staff person overnight, and then discontinue overnight service and transfer many callers back to [the non-emergency] line.”>>