In February, Multnomah County Health Department and the City of Portland installed 2 secure bins in in key locations on Portland’s Waterfront Esplanade to encourage proper disposal of needles by injection drug users.
This new installation marks the kick-off of a 12-month pilot project called Healthy Streets, which is intended to reduce the number of discarded syringes in downtown Portland.
The new bins are located:
- On the west waterfront, under the Burnside Bridge
- On the Eastbank Esplanade, near Salmon Street
A biohazard contractor will empty the bins regularly.Multnomah County community health workers will reach out to injection drug users about the new bins. There will also be a campaign to raise public awareness about safe syringe disposal.
Other cities have used this community-based disposal strategy to get used syringes off the streets and out of circulation so they are less likely to be thrown away or left in public places.
“This is part of a comprehensive public health strategy to reduce the harm of drug addiction in our community,’’ said Dr. Paul Lewis, Multnomah County Health Officer. “This will help protect the community and at the same time, engage users. Engagement is the first step toward recovery.’’
The project is a partnership between the Portland Bureau of Transportation, Portland Parks and Recreation and the Multnomah County Health Department. The bins are located on Portland Parks and Recreation property and the Transportation bureau’s dispatch operators will help to coordinate the regular emptying of the bins.