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Dear City Council,

I am writing to urge you to consider voting against the elimination of financial support for India Street Public Health clinics. These clinics are vital to the health and safety of our entire community. There is no other service agency in the city that has providers with the credentials as those in Positive Health Care. There is no other STD clinic in the state. The Portland Needle Exchange Program is the southern-most exchange in the state and the location, hours and access to the other services at India Street are some of the things that make the program so successful.

As a {local business owner/social service agency/resident} in Portland, I don’t want to see what will happen in our city if these services go away. They cannot simply be “transitioned” to another location. The integration of services and unique offerings cannot be replicated. Without these services, the chances of HIV and Hepatitis C rates increasing becomes very real. Discarding syringes, no access to life-saving naloxone education or routine testing are just a few of the things that will put our active injection drug users at greater risk.

When some of our most stigmatized, vulnerable and at-risk community members are forced to find other service providers to meet their needs, our entire city suffers. There is no need to transfer care to somewhere else, to a place already overloaded with patients and understaffed. Anyone who has experienced the Portland Community Health Center may agree that while their intentions are good, they haven’t succeeded in adequately meeting the needs of the residents of Portland.

At this time of increasing opiate use in our city and overdose rates going up all the time, I worry what our city will look like in five years. As a {business owner/agency/resident} interested in {attracting tourists to our great city/health and safety for our community/etc}, I am not sure this is the right move.

Please consider voting against this budget cut. It is not right for Portland. This is not a decision made by the people of Portland.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
{signed}

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