A few years ago, working for Central City Concern, I was asked to “sort through those three Hooper boxes” in the basement. Just keep the important stuff. “Hooper” is of course David P. Hooper and many people in Portland know Hooper as the city’s Sobering Station and Detox Center where thousands of people have begun their recovery.
The Sobering Station is on a nondescript corner of Northeast Portland and it’s where police bring unruly, intoxicated people – a place to sober up, stay out of trouble, not hurt anyone and not hurt themselves. It’s no picnic. When I first started my job here, I went to tour Hooper imagining neat cots lined up and covered with fresh white sheets. Maybe little vomit containers near each cot. Not so. We are talking a near jail-like environment with concrete floors and drain holes for easy clean-up. But the Sobering Station is no jail and jail is where David P. Hooper died. The Sobering Station has a sophisticated intake system with 24-hour medical oversight to ensure that people do not die of alcohol poisoning or drug overdoses. It’s a far cry from what David P. Hooper had. Continue reading