by Shane Trejo, Big League Politics:
Portland, the hub of economic activity for the Pacific Northwest state of Oregon, has gone from being one of the most livable large cities in North America to what seems to be an emerging Third World island. One way this is manifesting itself is in the form of dramatically increased wait times when distressed residents dial 911, a basic tenet of a First World society that should take no more than a few seconds.
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According to The Epoch Times, residents who call into the emergency hotline have been facing a “dramatic increase” in their hold times in recent months. Indeed, some of the officials involved have come clean about the situation, calling it “unmanageable” and even “broken”.
According to The Oregonian, the rough average of wait times when dialing 911 in Portland has surpassed the two-minute mark, dramatically over the national standard of between 15 and 20 seconds. The situation becomes markedly dire during significant events. For example, on September 4th, a shootout at a restaurant in Pearl District and several other incidents that took place around the same time caused callers to be put on hold for up to 7.5 minutes. The Oregonian added that this was simply “the latest example of serious problems plaguing the city’s emergency dispatch system.”.
The cause of the dramatic increase in wait time appears to be two-fold. Following the rise of the BLM movement in the city, crime rates have increased dramatically, leading to a 20 percent increase in 911 calls being made in July of 2021 compared to July 2020, according to Portland’s Bureau of Emergency Communications. This compares starkly to the mere 2 percent increase in 911 calls in July 2020 compared to July 2019.
On the supply side, it would appear that staffing shortages have not avoided visiting Portland’s 911 response department. According to Bob Cozzie, director of Portland’s Bureau of Emergency Communications, in addition to the large number of non-emergency calls made to 911, there have also been a number of staff that have left their positions, noting that around a dozen employees have “retired, taken leaves of absence, been promoted or resigned over the past six months,”. Cozzie was one of the officials to admit to the severity of the situation, saying that “We’re at a tipping point now. It’s become unmanageable,” and that “The system is broken.”
Unsurprisingly, Portland has seen a spike in homicides and general crime. Indeed, 98 homicide offenses were reported to the Portland Police Bureau between July 2020 and July 2021, a startling increase from the 12 month period prior which only recorded 23 homicide offenses reported. With law enforcement personnel being treated increasingly harshly by liberal governments across the country, the sort of scenario Portland finds itself in appears to become an increasingly common one.