News release: Behavioral Health Resource Center reopens after short closure for building improvements, annual certification training

May 13, 2024

Multnomah County reopened the Behavioral Health Resource Center Day Center and Shelter today, resuming normal operations after closing May 6 to install necessary fire protection upgrades and to support required certification training for provider staff. 

Beginning at 6 a.m. today, staff from the Mental Health and Addiction Association of Oregon (MHAAO) began distributing entry tickets from the Referral Van in Old Town. Up to 25 people at a time are admitted and provided three hours of access to the Day Center for peer services, shower, laundry, bathroom, mail, computer and other services.

Managed by Do Good Multnomah, the Shelter Program has begun a fast-paced referral and acceptance process upon re-opening. The Bridge Program will welcome back participants who were relocated during the construction and connect them to behavioral health and housing resources.

The closure allowed the County to replace the existing elevator smoke curtains that prevent smoke and heat from entering the elevator shaft in the four-story building in the event of a fire.  There was a change in code that required the County to install elevator curtains that are able to retract the smoke curtains momentarily if activated on all floors.  Under the prior code, smoke curtains with this function were only installed on the first floor. 

Closing the Center allowed the County to avoid an estimated five weeks of service disruption had the Day Center, Shelter and Bridge housing remained open during maintenance work. 

During the closure, the County also installed building and program signs, applied pest control treatment, performed exterior landscaping, conducted a deep cleaning of the building, and performed annual systems testing and other routine maintenance.

The timing of the closure also allowed Mental Health & Addiction Association of Oregon and Do Good staff to earn the continuing education credits required to obtain and maintain professional certification.

Since opening in December 2022, the Behavioral Health Resource Center has served 3,750 people who are houseless and experiencing addiction or mental health challenges in downtown Portland. 

“Each day, dozens of people rely on the Center for a safe place to take care of some very important basic needs,” said John Karp-Evans, Mental Health & Addiction Association of Oregon’s Senior Program and Operations Director at the Behavioral Health Resource Center.Completing these routine maintenance items will help us continue to serve our clients in a safe environment with updates that will minimize the need for unexpected closures in the future.”

During the closure, provider staff attended the annual Peerpocalypse training to obtain continuing education credits required by their peer certification. 

“The conference was a success,’’ said Karp-Evans. “Staff were able to attend many different trainings and get the CEUs required to renew their certifications. We are excited and ready to open the day center doors Monday morning.

One staff member, Jennie, described the training as “a magical experience. So many people with such amazing hearts all working to help heal others. It felt amazing to be part of it.”

Shelter and Bridge Housing resume operations 

Do Good Multnomah runs the 30-day Shelter Program and a 90-day transitional Bridge Housing Program on upper floors. Through this partnership, the Center has sheltered 257 people since opening.

“As a program manager to see all staff get the opportunity to learn and grow in the workplace and in life experience was immeasurable,” said Jason Anderson, of Do Good Multnomah.

Heather Mirasol, Multnomah County’s Interim Behavioral Health Director, said “We are grateful for everyone’s patience during the closure, and especially want to thank our partners who hosted participants in other locations while the BHRC was closed. This support was critical to us being able to continue our strong programming in the least disruptive way.’’

By the numbers: Day Center December 2022 - December 2023 

  • 3,750 unique participants

  • 7,724 referrals
  • 2,078 items of mail picked up
  • 56 showers per day
  • 23 loads of laundry per day

Shelter & Bridge Housing: Fiscal Year 24 Quarter 1 and Quarter 2

  • 257 individuals served
  • 54% had a positive exit
  • 75% had clinical engagement
  • 41% identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color
  • 18% identify as trans/non-binary

View Shawn’s story of the Behavioral Health Resource Center here.