On Monday, Jan. 16, The Skanner News Group partnered with Sen. Avel Gordly, D-Portland; Trish Tillman, project manager for Multnomah County Health Services; Steve Bullock, interim director of emergency management for Multnomah County; the American Red Cross; and others to launch a disaster preparedness awareness campaign.
The effort coincided with The Skanner Foundation's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast where Dr. Jonathan Jui, M.D. delivered the keynote address. Jui spent considerable time in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. Since then, we have made many efforts to deliver the preparedness message to our readers.
All indications are that Portland, Oregon and the Pacific Northwest will experience a natural disaster. Perhaps the small earthquake we experienced last Sunday is a warning of what is to come. It reminds us, anyway, that we must begin to prepare our citizens to establish personal plans (i.e. how would you get prescriptions, where would you meet loved ones, what are your strategies for food, water and other essentials?)
The state of Oregon is working on its policy for disaster preparedness. Each county should have its own personalized emergency plan. We are somewhat puzzled about why Multnomah County has spent nearly $38,000 on national recruiting for a director of disaster preparedness. The county does not need to look any further or need to spend $40,000 on a recruiting plan.
We have attended numerous disaster preparedness meetings in the last seven months. What is lacking is that most people are talking about how to solve problems relating to people rather than logistics.
On Thursday, Nov. 2, at a Multnomah County First Responders Drill, we spoke with several individuals who expressed their support and respect for Steve Bullock.
Bullock has the experience: As interim director of emergency management, he works on community outreach, educating and involving citizens about preparing for disasters. He has oversight of grants and hazard mitigation, and he collaborates throughout the region with other emergency managers and communications specialists.
He is experienced in handling county facilities, department budgets and contracts. Bullock helped to build the 24/7 Call Center in the county's mental health and addiction services; as chief of operations in the county's Department of Community and Human Services, he oversaw four mental health-related agencies.
Mike McBride, a program manager for county facilities, said Bullock's "past experience with law enforcement, partnership skills and ability to collaborate makes him a good fit for the job." We agree.
It is about the people you serve, and someone like Steve Bullock demonstrates the capacity to communicate that message to people who have confidence and trust in you as an individual.
What do you think? E-mail: [email protected]