The Portland city commissioner is pushing the mayor to include his request in a proposed budget that will be made public this week.

COURTESY PHOTO: MINGIS MAPPS - First-term city commissioner Mingus Mapps wants to use some of the city's surprise $62 million budget surplus enhancing the Portland Police Bureau's ability to respond to mental health-related calls.Portland's leaders, beleaguered by multiple crises over the past two years, got a rare spot of good news last week: They'll see an unexpected $62 million flow into city coffers thanks to a surprising jump in business license tax revenue.

Every City Council member is crafting their own ideas for how to spend the money. This week, Commissioner Mingus Mapps put his proposal on the table, one he predicts will be potentially the most contentious ask made during the upcoming Fall Budget Monitoring Process, as council members adjust the budget they approved in the summer.

At a time when many Portlanders say they want police out of the business of assisting people experiencing mental health crises, Mapps said he wants to expand the police unit responsible for doing just that: the Behavioral Health Unit.

Behavioral Health Response Teams, which are part of the unit, pair a police officer and a mental health clinician to assist people experiencing a mental health problem and connect them with mental and behavioral health services. The teams are currently work during the day Monday through Friday and take calls referred to them by officers on patrol.

Oregon Public Broadcasting is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Their full story can be found here.

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