First Advisor

Greg Townley

Term of Graduation

January 2023

Date of Publication


Document Type





Alternative first response, Equity, Portland Street Response, Shared Values

Physical Description

1 online resource ( pages)


Alternative first response programs have existed in the United States for decades, and the formation of these programs has increased across the country in light of public calls for non-police responses to emergency. Portland Street Response (PSR) is an alternative first response program located in Portland, Oregon. The program assists individuals experiencing mental health crises by providing unarmed response in non-violent situations that ordinarily would be responded to by armed police officers. In order for such programs to thrive, collaboration with other organizations is crucial. Service-providing organizations are uniquely prepared to collaborate with a program such as PSR due to their proximity to vulnerable communities. Currently, there is a lack of information about the perspectives of service providers concerning alternative first response programs, particularly regarding their motivation for collaboration. The current study utilizes qualitative interviewing methods to examine organizational motivation to collaborate. Specifically, the study focuses on service-providing organizations and their motivation to collaborate with Portland Street Response. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 16 participants and then analyzed to uncover key themes. The current study resulted in themes pertaining to motivations for collaboration, including the importance of building relationships, having non-traditional approaches to care, establishing and maintaining trust; and themes pertaining to shared values, such as a commitment to equity. The current study also revealed the importance of concrete program features in relation to collaboration, specifically access to resources and mobility. This research has implications for other alternative first response programs collaborating with local service providers in communities across the US.


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