PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A mother in Northeast Portland says she found fentanyl pills in her front yard, right next to where her children play.
Evelyn MacPherson said she grew up in Portland and told KOIN 6 she’s already started packing their house. She says they don’t where they’re going yet — but it won’t be in Portland.
MacPherson claims she found a little green toy-like object lying in her family’s front yard garden. Inside the object were the highly lethal pills, she said.
“I couldn’t even believe this is in my yard, where my kids play, they were just out here playing on the trampoline yesterday,” said MacPherson. “What if… what if my curious 6-year-old had picked it up, what if my 8-year-old picked it up?”
“They look like smarties is the scary thing, they look like miniature smarties, they look like candy,” said Jason Benington, MacPherson’s husband.
Fortunately for MacPherson and her husband, she spotted this before her kids did, just feet from their trampoline and chicken coop.
“I called my mom and she’s like that figures right because it’s just expected now and I was like you know it’s that camp because I’ve seen the people passing between the busy streets trafficking drugs.”
The following day, MacPherson took her frustration to county leaders.
“We should be funding programs that actually incentivize people getting well and being out of crime but instead we’re incentivizing them being further and further into their addictions and criminal behavior,” MacPherson said at Thursday’s County Commissioner board meeting.
“At this point, we’re a regressive state and I would love for Portland to be an example of progressivism working but the problem is that our county and city officials are not held to any accountability and we continue to wallow in filth in the city,” Benington added.
KOIN 6 News reached out to each county commissioner for an interview. Chair Deborah Kafoury’s office responded with the following statement:
“Multnomah County’s policies do not incentivize illicit drug use. To the contrary, Multnomah County‘s policies and programs incentivize drug users to get well. The County funds and supports an extremely wide range of evidence-based recovery and support services. That includes proven harm reduction strategies like needle exchanges (which prevent the spread of HIV, other illnesses, and death, and connect people to health workers), diversion programs like our Stabilization, Preparation and Treatment (STP), and specialty courts that take a firm approach to addiction. Our PATH (Promoting Access to Hope) team provides intensive outreach and engagement with persons who have substance use, housing and risk of legal involvement to help them access treatment, housing, and other needs.
“We also just opened the Behavioral Health Resource Center to connect people experiencing homelessness who have substance use disorders and chronic and persistent mental illness to stability, treatment services, and ultimately, housing. We are working with providers, peers, and state and local leaders to expand our crisis system. We also successfully pushed for the Supportive Housing Services measure to provide the kind of wraparound services that help people enter and maintain their recovery.
“At the end of the day, the people in our community need more state and federal resources as Oregon continues to rank at the bottom for spending on behavioral health.“