In the Portland area, the upsurge of opiate/opioid use has resulted in a larger need for proper syringe disposal. The problem is so bad that an alarming amount of syringes/needles are found on the ground in various parts of the city. Recently, 1,500 syringes/needles were found on the ground along Interstate 84, in Sullivan’s Gulch.
There are already programs that have been put in place for safe disposal of syringes/needles. Many parks and libraries already have small boxes in bathrooms where people can dispose their needles. There is a walkway below the Burnside Bridge where users can find a free, 24-hour box to drop their needles. There is also another box below the Steel Bridge. In Oregon City and Northwest Portland, Metro offers syringe disposal services at transfer facilities. Metro gives people in the counties of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington the opportunity to rent out their own sharps container for a fee of $5.00.
In an effort to not create sleazy, scary, dangerous sites, people in the community have advocated for there to be disposal sites at fire houses.
Six new disposal sites are planned to open soon in Southeast and North Portland. By the end of Spring, 2018, there will be three new drop boxes ready for use. The cost of these three drop boxes will be $200,000. Multnomah county is partnering with Portland Business Alliance, TriMet and Metro to get the project underway.
The locations of the three sites will be at Fire Station 22 on 7205 North Alta Street; the Multnomah County Bridge shop on 1403 Southeast Water Avenue and Fire Station 11 on 5707 Southeast 92nd Avenue. Decisions are being made as to where future drop sites should be. Places like the Interstate 84 Corridor—the place where 1,500 needles/syringes were found, are definite candidates.
Hopefully, efforts like this will diminish any reputation that Portland might have of being a somewhat dirty place where there are needles everywhere. These efforts will make it so that visitors to the City of Roses will be least likely to catch site of a needle and/or syringe in their travels.