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  • Writer's pictureSusan Houser

Portland Metro Area

The city of Portland, Oregon, has a population of 584,000 people. It is the county seat of Multnomah County, which has 735,000 people. The Portland metro area (which includes part of the state of Washington) has almost 2.3 million people.

The Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland (ASAP) is a coalition of six organizations, some of which are municipal and some private, that provide animal sheltering in the Portland metro area. The municipal members of the coalition (shelters that are responsible for stray intake) are Multnomah County Animal Services (MCAS) (serving the city of Portland and Multnomah County), the Bonnie L. Hays Shelter (BLH) (serving Washington County), and Clackamas County Dog Services. The private members of the coalition are the Oregon Humane Society, the Humane Society for Southwest Washington (HSSW) (which works with Clark County Animal Control), and the Cat Adoption Team. Together these six organizations serve four counties — Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, and Clark — containing about 2 million people. ASAP estimates that its six members care for 90% of the animals needing sheltering in the four counties.

Coalitions such as ASAP are becoming a trend, as more and more municipal shelters seek out and work closely with private partners. In such situations you have to look at the community coalition as a whole, rather than the individual shelters, to get an accurate idea of what is going on. For example, the Clackamas County municipal shelter does not pick up stray cats and does not accept owner surrendered cats, but it offers cats for adoption that have been taken in by other area organizations. Conversely, the Cat Adoption Team takes in cats but not dogs. MCAS and BLH accept owner surrenders only when they have room, but owner surrenders are accepted by HSSW and OHS.

The ASAP coalition increased the live release rate for the metro area from 62% in 2006 to 79% in 2011. Maddie’s Fund reported that the coalition had an 85% live release rate for 2012, with a combined intake of almost 32,000 animals.

The coalition’s live release rate first exceeded 90% in 2013, with a live release rate of 91% for an intake of just over 30,000 animals. If owner-requested euthanasia and animals who died or were lost in shelter care are counted with euthanasias, the live release rate was 86% for 2013. (The ASAP statistics are linked here.) With ASAP’s service area of about 2 million people, it was the largest metro area in 2013 to report a 90% or better live release rate under the standard calculation.

Multnomah County’s live release rate for 2013, calculated separately on MCAS intake alone, was 87%. It is not unusual, when you have a coalition, for a shelter that does animal control intake to have a lower live release rate than other intake shelters in the coalition, since animal control generally involves the most difficult situations such as hoarders, dog-fighting busts, etc. When other shelters in the area of the animal control shelter are doing intake of owner surrenders, it can artificially depress the success rate of the animal control shelter.

In 2014, Both MCAS and the coalition as a whole improved their live release rates (the full coalition Asilomar statistics are not posted as of this writing.) MCAS has reported 90.2% for 2014, and ASAP as a whole has reported a 93% live release rate for 2014 (see header in link).

The Portland metro area is counted in the blog’s running totals as a 90%+ community.



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