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The Mental Health Alliance successfully opposed lifting of the conditional status of amendments to the settlement agreement of US DOJ v. City of Portland at the February 25 2020 status conference. The parties to the case and the Portland Police Association sought to end the conditional status, which would change language in the settlement agreement about community oversight, and instead adopt Mayor Ted Wheeler’s plan for Portland’s Committee on Community-Engaged Policing (PCCEP). The parties contended all the items of the settlement agreement are resolved and asked for the case to move toward dismissal with eleven months of monitoring.

Judge Michael Simon delayed ruling, citing evidence presented by the Mental Health Alliance and public testimony on the instability of the PCCEP. Simon said there was insufficient evidence to rule the PCCEP fulfilled the expectations of the “PCCEP Plan” and should be adopted. He encouraged the parties to meet with community members and return to his court in one year.

Federal judge still reluctant to approve Portland’s new community approach to police oversight
Oregonian, February 26, 2020

Most of the community representatives, including leaders of the Albina Ministerial Alliance and its Coalition for Justice and Police Reform and the Mental Health Alliance, said they were dissatisfied with the city’s new oversight committee.

They highlighted the high turnover rate of its members, as well as a lack of broad community outreach and respect for recommendations offered by members with lived experience of mental illness.

Those who sat on its subcommittee for People with Mental Illness resigned this month, saying they felt unheard.

Amanda J. Marshall, an Oregon City-based lawyer who was the co-chair of the subcommittee, said she and others left “feeling marginalized, misunderstood and ultimately dismissed. Unfortunately, these feelings parallel the experience of those with mental illness.”

Judge Delays Ruling on Portland’s Police Settlement Agreement with DOJ, Citing Lack of Community Engagement
Portland Mercury, February 27, 2020

Federal Judge Weighs Whether Portland Is In Compliance With DOJ Agreement
OPB.org, February 26, 2020

While debates on PCCEP’s merits took the lion’s share of the morning, others told the judge they believed the city shouldn’t be found in compliance for a simple reason, at the heart of the agreement: Portland Police officers still kill people experiencing mental illnesses.

“In 2019, the PPB killed five people – all people in mental health crisis,” said Michael Hopcroft, a board member of the Mental Health Association of Portland. “At the same time, in NYC, with 10 times the population, NYC killed 10 people.” He added that, according to the Washington Post’s fatal shooting database, none of the people were in a mental health crisis.


Documents for Status Conference – February 25 2020

The Mental Health Alliance is amicus curiae to the Federal Court in United States of America v. City of Portland, which found Portland police officers had a pattern and practice of using excessive force against persons with mental illness. The Alliance is made up of four organizations – Disability Rights Oregon, Oregon Justice Resource Center, the Mental Health Association of Portland, and Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance, as well as individual members. The website for the alliance is at www.mentalhealthalliance.org.

The Mental Health Alliance is represented by attorneys Juan Chavezjchavez@ojrc.info and Franz Bruggemeier, fbruggemeier@ojrc.info, 503-944-2270, of the Oregon Justice Resource Center. 

Mr. Chavez argued at the February 25 status conference the City of Portland is not compliant with the settlement agreement of US v City of Portland.

Michael Hopcroft is a member of the Mental Health Alliance, will provide public testimony refuting any claim the City has reduced use of force against people with mental illness, alcoholism or addiction. His testimony relies on data produced by the PPB and available on their website. Data scientist Mark Harmon Leymon, PhD of Portland State University review Hopcroft’s conclusions and adds an affidavit.

The Mental Health Alliance has provided support for the Sub-Committee for People with Mental Illness, part of Portland’s Committee for Community-Engaged Policing. Members of that Sub-Committee will testify at the status conference about why the Sub-Committee members have resigned. The Sub-Committee former members who will testify are listed below with links to their testimony and evidence.

Patrick Nolen is a former PCCEP member and former co-chair of the Sub-Committee for People with Mental Illness. Patrick shares his frustrations with the PCCEP and resigns from both the PCCEP and Sub-Committee.
Testimony of Patrick Nolen (PDF)

Meredith Mathis is a former member of the Sub-Committee for People with Mental Illness. Meredith shares her experience presenting recommendations from the Sub-Committee to the PCCEP, and resigns.
Testimony of Meredith Mathis (PDF)

Amanda S. Marshall, JD is a former co-chair of the Sub-Committee for People with Mental Illness. Amanda will tell how the PCCEP failed to provide due consideration for a Sub-Committee recommendation, and resigns.
Testimony of Amanda Marshall, JD (PDF)
Exhibits presented – including letter to Mayor Ted Wheeler and three recommendations made to the PCCEP (PDF)


Status Conference – June 6 2019

In June 2019, the Mental Health Alliance successfully argued before Judge Michael Simon the PCCEP had been largely unsuccessful in reaching basic organizational goals and had yet to produce substantial work product. Judge Simon agreed and scheduled a return status conference for February 25, 2020.

In addition to the June 6 meeting, the MHA participated in a “parties discussion” on June 5 with attorneys and representatives from the City of Portland, the US DOJ, the Portland Police Association, the Portland Police Bureau, the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform.

Here is the Agenda for the June 6 status conference (PDF).
Here is the Brief to the Court from the Mental Health Alliance presented by MHA attorney Juan Chavez (PDF).
Here is the testimony of Jason Renaud, a member of the MHA (PDF).

Judge wants some proof that Portland’s new community approach to police oversight is effective
Oregonian, June 6, 2019

How has new community approach in police settlement worked? Judge gets status report
Oregonian, June 5 2019

Transcript for the June 6, 2019 Status Conference (PDF)


Welcome to the Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance as a member of the Mental Health Alliance.


The request by the Mental Health Alliance to make the meetings of the Portland Police Bureau’s Behavioral Health Unit Advisory Committee open to the public was denied on February 26, 2019 by Tracy Reeves, attorney for the City of Portland. Reeves, instead of asserting Oregon Public Meeting Law, advised the BHUAC they could decide for themselves whether to follow Oregon law or keep the meeting closed.

See – Letter from Reeves denying the request of the Mental Health Alliance (PDF)

UPDATE – as of June 7, 2019 meetings of the Portland Police Bureau’s Behavioral Health Unit Advisory Committee remains closed to the public.


Our work supporting people with lived experience of mental illness on Portland’s Committee for Community Engaged Policing (PCCEP) began in October 2018. In January 2019 the PCCEP created the Subcommittee for People with Mental Illness. Below are the organizing documents for the subcommittee.

See – Description – Subcommittee for People with Mental Illness (PDF)
See – Subcommittee Application (PDF)
See – Member Roster – Subcommittee for People with Mental Illness Roster (PDF)
See – Meeting Schedule Spring 2019 – Subcommittee for People with Mental Illness (PDF)
See – Online Resources for Subcommittee Study (PDF)
Join – Subcommittee for People with Mental Illness Facebook Page


The Mental Health Alliance sent a letter on February 14, 2019 to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler asking that the Behavioral Health Unity Advisory Committee to comply with Oregon Public Meetings Law.

See – Letter from the Mental Health Alliance to Ted Wheeler (PDF)


The Mental Health Alliance submitted testimony to Federal Court and Judge Michael Simon on February 12 in reference to US DOJ v. City of Portland clarifying the qualities expected in a psychiatric service described as a “drop off” or “walk in.” The letter was drafted by Jeffrey Eisen, Medical Director of Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare and Derald Walker, CEO of Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, with input from senior managers of Health Share Oregon and the Multnomah County Mental Health and Addiction Services Division.

See – Testimony on qualities of “drop off” or “walk in” facilities. (PDF)


The Mental Health Alliance released its position on body worn cameras on January 23, 2019.

See – Position on Body Worn Cameras (PDF)

Regardless of the input of the Mental Health Alliance and other community and partner organizations to the Portland Police Bureau, the City of Portland will purchase body worn cameras.

See – Portland Police Bureau Body Worn Camera Pilot Program


Portland police union, feds object to Mental Health Alliance’s push for stronger input on reform settlement – Oregonian, September 24, 2018

A lawyer for the Portland police union and federal attorneys are urging a judge to reject the Mental Health Alliance’s request to have a seat at the table in the court’s review of the city’s four-year-old settlement with federal Justice officials on police reforms.

Anil Karia, representing the Portland Police Association, called the alliance’s move a “last-ditch attempt to put its own stamp on this case” that comes “five and a half years too late.”


New mental health alliance wants say on police reform settlement – Oregonian, September 11, 2018

A new alliance of mental health advocacy groups wants a seat at the table in the court’s review of the city of Portland’s four-year old settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice stemming from police use of excessive force against people with mental illness.

The alliance was formed in July and is made up of Disability Rights Oregon, the Mental Health Association of Portland and Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare. The groups cite their experience and expertise as direct service providers to people with mental illness.


Mental Health Alliance Wants Input on Portland’s Federally-Mandated Police Reforms – Portland Mercury, September 11, 2018


Petition to Judge Michael Simon from the Mental Health Alliance (PDF)


USEFUL LINKS

Past messages from City of Portland about police reform meetings / issues