911 calls in Portland have dramatically increased to nearly one million a year. This has overwhelmed our current system, resulting in historically long wait times. No one should have to wait long periods of time when they are experiencing an emergency.
Next week I will be announcing my full list of proposed investments for the city’s annual budget. Here are two ways my proposals will improve our existing 911 system:
First, we need to increase funding to the bureau that handles 911 calls. They must be able to operate efficiently—which includes hiring additional dispatch staff.
Second, we must expand and better utilize 311, our non-emergency hotline. This service must be available to field non-emergency calls away from 911. My proposal will provide the resources for 311 to hire additional staff and move service operations to 24/7.