Clackamas Addictions Recovery Summit

From Sept. 13–14, 2023, the Board of County Commissioners held the Clackamas Addictions Recovery Summit, a forum which brought together local, national and international experts on addiction and homelessness.

The purpose of the summit was to learn more about evidence-based programs, best practices, and lessons learned to expand and build upon the addiction services and investments found in Clackamas County. Commissioners seek to develop new solutions that can effectively address the addiction and drug abuse problems present in the county area.

The idea for this endeavor first emerged from the Board's annual retreat in early 2023. The need was further buttressed by the Board's April 2023 resolution to support a recovery-oriented system of care (ROSC) in responding to the addictions, mental health and homelessness crisis. That resolution established a framework to guide future county actions relating to the homeless population who experience drug addiction and mental illness.

"What is a recovery-oriented system of care (ROSC)?"

An ROSC is a coordinated network of community-based services and supports that is person-centered and builds on the strengths and resiliencies of individuals, families, and communities to achieve abstinence and improved health, wellness, and quality of life for those with or at risk of alcohol and drug problems. An ROSC supports the premise that there are many pathways to recovery.

The expert panel included:

Rick Armstrong

Rick Armstrong

Founder/former Executive Director of Our Collective Journey

Sheldon Bailey

Sheldon Bailey

Canadian policy advisor on mental health and addictions

Andrew Mendenhall

Andrew Mendenhall

President/CEO of Central City Concern

Ana Rausch

Ana Rausch

Vice President of Program Operations for the Coalition for the Homeless

Robert Tanguay

Dr. Robert Tanguay

Co-founder/Chief Medical Officer of The Newly Institute

Tom Wolf

Tom Wolf

Founder of The Pacific Alliance for Prevention and Recovery

The two-day affair featured the expert panelists holding distinct meetings — one with relevant county staff, one with the Board of County Commissioners, and another with key community stakeholders (including the Board, local mayors, health service providers, nonprofit leaders, public safety officials, business developers, and individuals with related lived experiences).

Clackamas County Commissioners

Chair Tootie Smith

"There are brilliant ideas from all over the world. We convened this summit to hear from thought leaders. We look forward to taking the next step — the Clackamas way."

– Chair Tootie Smith

Commissioner Paul Savas

"Clackamas County is working hard to increase access to addiction treatment and recovery services. Hearing from a wide range of experts, including several who have lived experience of homelessness and substance addiction, will help us bring best practices to our work. We appreciate their willingness to help us improve outcomes for our communities."

– Commissioner Paul Savas

Commissioner Martha Schrader

"The personal stories of these experts with lived experiences — those who have lived on the streets with addiction and know what works and what doesn't — is essential as we move forward as a county."

– Commissioner Martha Schrader

Commissioner Mark Shull

"Tackling the addictions crisis is a priority for the Board of County Commissioners. The community is hurting, and we're taking action."

– Commissioner Mark Shull

Commissioner Ben West

"We're being innovative and creative in tackling the addictions issue. We're turning over every rock to find good solutions."

– Commissioner Ben West

Moving forward: The Clackamas Way

Coming out of the summit, the panelists put forth detailed recommendations to the Board in late October 2023. These recommendations — based on best practices and lessons learned — will help shape Board actions in the coming months and years.

The report looks at current county assets available to help stem the addiction crisis, current gaps in county services, and recommendations by the summit panelists geared toward helping a population struggling with addictions.

Over the next few months, the Board will discuss these recommendations and develop an ROSC roadmap that builds upon and expands county policies and services to better serve this population.

Stay informed

If you would like to be kept abreast of the latest news stemming from and related to the summit and its subsequent recommendations, please provide your email address below.



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