Early Thursday morning, at 2:05 a.m., Portland police Officers Michael Hall and Zachary DeLong responded to an apparent burglary attempt in Northwest Portland after a woman called 911 to inform dispatchers there was a man standing on the fifth story ledge outside her hotel room.
Hall recalled seeing the man “clutching the building. It wasn’t like he was trying to get away from us. He was in a place that he shouldn’t be.”
Hall and DeLong entered the fifth floor hotel room and opened the window to speak with the man, who was unresponsive when they called to him from the ground.
“I peeked around the window and he was right there, less than 12 inches away from my face,” said DeLong. “It actually made me jump back a little bit.”
The ledge on which he stood was no wider than 8 inches, and over 60 feet off the ground.
Once the officers saw him up close, they found him distressed, sobbing, and clearly intoxicated. DeLong spoke to him with compassion, using skills he learned in Crisis Intervention Training.
“I told him, ‘We just want to help you out, but to do that we need you to come inside,'” said DeLong. He continued to reassure the man that he and Hall were there to help him and that he was not in trouble.
Slowly, the man inched closer to the window. Once he was in reach, each officer grabbed an arm and pulled him inside.
Paramedics from the Portland Fire Bureau then took him to a hospital to be treated for a mental health crisis. He was not charged with a crime.
Hall and DeLong learned later that the man stepped onto the ledge from his room on the west side of the building and side-stepped nearly 100 feet around to the south side.
“He was at the point where he wouldn’t have lasted very much longer on the ledge,” said DeLong. “It’s scary to think about what could have happened.”