January 21st, 2011 5:33 pm | by BETH SLOVIC News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics, City Hall, Multnomah County

City Hall: Mental Health Funding and the Mayor's 2011 State of the City Speech

Mental Health
Adams at State of the City 2010
Mayor Sam Adams' annual state-of-the-city address takes place on Feb. 18, less than a month from now. And if you're wondering what the mayor may highlight at the City Club of Portland event, let us help narrow the field. Mental health won't be the only topic the mayor discusses, but it will be on his list.

Last year, Portland's 2010-11 budget offered a relatively modest allocation of $540,000 for local mental-health services, including $140,000 for a Multnomah County Mental Health Crisis Center. But that financial decision, a one-time spending choice, didn't commit the city to ongoing funding for mental health programs (which typically fall under the purview of Multnomah County anyway).

Since July 1, when the city's budget took effect, the state's budget forecast has deteriorated significantly, threatening many statewide social-service programs. But the city's financial situation has, for the most part, weathered the economic storm.

In recent weeks, Adams has publicly decried the fraying social-safety net in Oregon. On Jan. 3, after a string of officer-involved shootings in Portland, Adams pointed to that decline as a factor that contributed to deadly Portland Police encounters with mentally ill residents.

Adams' meeting this past Wednesday with Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen offers additional clues about what Portlanders may expect from the mayor at his annual address next month. At their monthly meeting Jan. 19, Cogen says the two elected leaders discussed impending, across-the-board cuts in the state budget and the potential impact on the county's programs for mental health services (since much of the county's funding comes from the state).
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