PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The City of Portland applied for a $550,000 federal grant to create a service to take people to a new 24/7 sobering center. But Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office said that since Multnomah County took too long to start it up, the funding lapsed.

The money from the US Bureau of Justice Assistance was awarded in September 2022. Multnomah County approved funding to begin implementing pieces of the Behavioral Health Emergency Coordination Network services a few weeks ago.

County officials told KOIN 6 News the grant was submitted before they took over the behavioral health network. They added funding for the transportation to the sobering center, which would be operated by Community Network for Coordinated Transportation, is a priority.

Cody Bowman, Mayor Wheeler’s communications director, said, “Our community desperately needs immediate stabilization resources and we will continue working with our regional partners to help get these online.”

Multnomah County leaders have struggled to get more than $60 million in unanticipated revenue out the door. Late last month they OK’d nearly $7 million to build a 24-hour stabilization center.

During that meeting, Portland residents testified in favor of the center.

One person said, “The other few detox options are overwhelmed and people have to get on the waiting list to join them and for so many people. Waiting one more minute for help is not going to cut it.”