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Oregon man died waiting for an ambulance, highlighting lack of emergency responders

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Emergency dispatch logs in Portland, Oregon, show that a man died while waiting over a half-hour for an ambulance after being struck by a hit-and-run driver last month

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A man died while waiting over a half-hour for an ambulance after being struck by a hit-and-run driver last month, according to emergency dispatch logs, an incident that Portland firefighters say highlights their frustration at a lack of available ambulances to respond to emergency calls.

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The Bureau of Emergency Communications 911 dispatch log was obtained by KGW-TV through a public records request. It revealed that American Medical Response, the private provider contracted by Multnomah County, was operating at level zero — a code meaning there are no ambulances available to respond to an emergency call.

“More and more, day after day, we’re seeing this level zero pop up, and as firefighters we’re getting frustrated,” Isaac McLennan, president of the Portland Fire Fighters’ Association, told KGW-TV. “This is a highly dangerous situation and it should be unacceptable not only just for firefighters, it should be unacceptable for everybody who lives in this community.”

Shortly after midnight on April 28, both firefighters and an ambulance crew were dispatched to the accident scene in northeast Portland. Police said it appeared the man, who has not been publicly identified, was attempting to cross the street in a wheelchair when he was hit.