A conversation with Jason Renaud examining the conflicts between law enforcement and people with mental illness or addiction; alternatives to policing; and the city efforts to deal with homelessness.
Jason Renaud is a nonprofit consultant with over 35 years of open recovery from alcoholism focusing on program design and leadership. He’s a well-known public speaker and writer on recovery from alcoholism and the experience of people with mental illness, and is an active advocate for people who have fallen through the public safety net. He is the board secretary of the Mental Health Association of Portland and is the organization’s voluntary managing director. He coordinates three enduring projects for the organization; the Law & Mental Health Conference - in 2022 on Alternatives to Police; the Mental Health Alliance which advises courts and government agencies on police reform in relation to mental illness and addiction; the Alternative Mobile Service Association, which connects service providers creating alternatives to police.
Renaud spent fifteen years as an executive team member of the national nonprofit Compassion & Choices, working on multi-million dollar fundraising campaigns, successful state ballot measures, legislative, public relations and legal battles, and development of both the medical and pharmaceutical practice of assisted dying. As executive director of Compassion & Choices of Oregon from 2010-2013, he provided in-home patient care coordination for all of Oregon’s assisted dying services and was at the bedside for over forty deaths. Renaud has held managerial positions for several diverse organizations, including executive positions for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, the Washington State Department of Corrections, The Oregonian newspaper, Central City Concern where he managed alcohol and drug free housing, and Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare where he was an ACT Team leader. In 2010 he ran for Portland City Council on a police reform platform. In 2014 Renaud produced the award-winning documentary film Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse. He has been amici curiae to US DOJ v City of Portland since 2016. He is a former Crisis Intervention Team trainer, and a community engagement trainer for the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training. Currently he serves on the board of the Lone Fir Cemetery Foundation, Multnomah County’s Transforming Justice Steering Committee, and the Portland Police Oversight Commission.