Cops rescue troubled person from freeway overpass

Here’s why northbound I-205 came to a near standstill on Saturday morning …

Closing off lanes of traffic on I-205, as well as the exit to I-84, backs up traffic while trained officers try to communicate with an individual experiencing a mental health crisis.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

When passersby noticed an individual appearing to be having a mental health crisis on the NE Glisan Street I-205 overpass, on January 28 at about 10:30 a.m., Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers came to the scene.

“From here, I can’t be sure if it was a woman, but it looked like she was climbing over the railing, and maybe [wanted to] jump on the freeway, or beside it,” said Jerry Berryhill, who watched as ambulances and Portland Fire & Rescue rigs pulled into the area.

“The person must be there, on the east end, where [emergency responders] are set up, near the exit,” Berryhill told East Portland News.

Standing by on the Glisan Street Overpass – a Portland Fire & Rescue Chief’s vehicle, and an ambulance.

In addition to shutting down the NE Glisan Street overpass to all traffic, two lanes of northbound I-205 were closed off, including the westbound exit to I-84.

PPB Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team (ECIT) members, officers with training in how to communicate with someone experiencing mental health issues, continued their efforts “talk down” the individual.

Officers on the overpass were watching and waiting while ECIT team members worked with the troubled individual.

The ECIT Incident Commander called for a Fire Bureau ladder truck, in order to reach the person.

At 12:01 p.m. announcement came over Twitter: “Officers have assisted the person in mental health crisis to safety; the person will be transported by ambulance for mental health treatment.”

Because of the incident, northbound traffic on I-205 backs up into Clackamas County.

“Some people believe that all we do is arrest suspects and give out traffic tickets,” a sergeant commented at the scene, “but we help people every day, in many ways.”

While the traffic lanes were opened shortly after the incident ended, northbound traffic, remained backed up past SE Sunnyside Road for quite some time.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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