Portland and Multnomah County officials will massively expand the Healthy Streets pilot program that last year placed two needle collection boxes near the waterfront in downtown.
According to government communications reviewed by WW, the city plans to eventually place a new box at each fire station in the city, creating 30 additional needle disposal locations for intervenous drug users.
Multnomah County will buy five new boxes, one of which is earmarked to be installed at the county's bridge shop near the Hawthorne bridge on Southeast Water Avenue, says Adam Renon, a policy advisor to Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury.
The city will add a box at the St. Johns and Lents fire stations this spring, he said.
TriMet, Metro and downtown's Clean and Safe program also plan to add boxes to the downtown core, the Lloyd district and along the I-84, by by late-summer or early fall.
"The expansion isn't just in downtown, it's really across the community," says county spokeswoman Julie Sullivan-Springhetti.
The city and county will continue expanding the program as they procure new boxes. Each box costs between $1,500 and $4,000.
The pilot program, which involved installing two boxes and managing disposal, cost less than $20,000. The city covered the disposal costs and the county covered the cost of health workers who encouraged people to use the boxes to get rid of used needles.