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Office of the Ombudsman

A division of the Portland City Auditor's Office

phone: 503-823-0144

email: ombudsman@portlandoregon.gov

1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 320, Portland, OR 97204

Public Reports

Ombudsman Report: 911 Hold Times Longer Than Reported

Report issued on June 7, 2017

The Bureau of Emergency Communications is responsible for providing the public with a seamless and reliable 911 service. One of the key measurements of the Bureau’s performance is how quickly 911 operators answer emergency calls. The length of time on hold directly influences how rapidly paramedics, firefighters and police officers respond to individual emergencies and largescale disasters. Minutes can be the difference between a life saved or a life lost.

Despite the ongoing staffing challenges, the Bureau has consistently reported exceeding one of its key performance standards. It claims that nearly 100 percent of 911 calls are answered in under 20 seconds. It also claims that the average time to answer a 911 call is one second. For the reasons outlined in the Ombudsman’s report, the Bureau’s staffing shortage is already compromising service levels. Contrary to the Bureau’s assertions, it is performing well below accepted standards. 

To read the full report, click on the report image or click here.


Ombudsman Report: Problem with City's Emergency Communications System

Report issued on December 21, 2016

Opened in the wake of a fatal house fire, the Ombudsman's investigation focused on the discovery of a technological flaw in the City's system for screening cell phone calls to 911. The flaw prevents operators from calling back thousands of emergency calls each year where the caller either hung up or was disconnected before speaking with an operator. It also caused underreporting of call hold times and abandoned call rates.

To read the full report, click on the report image or click here