“This is deeply personal for the Wyden household,” said Oregon Senator Ron Wyden as he toured the site of the upcoming Benton County Crisis Center in downtown Corvallis.
Wyden, along with Benton County Commissioners Nancy Wyse, Pat Malone, and Xan Augerot, toured the building site at the corner of 4th Street and Van Buren Blvd. in downtown Corvallis. The center will offer walk-in mental health services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will be a therapeutic place for those in need to stabilize from a mental health crisis from a few hours up to 29 days.
Senator Wyden, along with U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio, helped secure $1 million dollars in congressional funding for the center. During the tour, Wyden said his own brother’s mental health issues spurred him to support this and other services to help those in mental health crises.
“This is something that I am very much committed to tackling personally,” Wyden said.
“We know that we’ve got a lot to do, and this million dollars here at the respite center is dollar for dollar going to be one very, very smart investment because this gives us a chance to do more in the community.”
The crisis center is a project of Benton County’s Justice System Improvement Program. This project has received a total of $7.7 million in state and federal funding and additional funds for expanded crisis center services.
Prior to the tour, Mahlum Architects and Gerding Builders presented a journey-map demonstrating that the design of the facility is based on client needs. The space will be safe, trauma-informed, accessible, welcoming, and meets the unique needs of Benton County residents.
The project design is a collaboration between many public and private organizations including:
Benton County Health Department
Benton County Public Works
Samaritan Health Services
InterCommunity Health Network
Corvallis Daytime Drop-in Center
Strengthening Rural Families
Oregon State University
The center will help relieve burdens on Benton County law enforcement as well as Samaritan Health Services.
“Every community is unique, and it takes local leaders and community stakeholders working together to develop something that’s really going to meet the needs of that community,” said Doug Boysen, CEO of Samaritan Health Services. “This was identified as one of our highest needs. So, our community spoke that this was something that was needed.”
The center will help keep individuals from needing to use higher levels of care including the acute psychiatric inpatient unit at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. It could also help prevent individuals in need of treatment from facing incarceration at the Benton County Jail by providing a voluntary, treatment-centered approach. Representatives of the County’s law enforcement community attended the tour to show their support.
The center will offer services such as:
Crisis assessments and case management
Short-term therapy and skills training
Connection to treatment services and social services
Engagement with primary care providers
“With this new facility, our aim is to provide improved access to mental health crisis services by operating the crisis center 24/7, 365 days a year,” said Ricky Garcia, from Benton County Health. “This means crisis counselors available to help and support individuals in need day or night, rain or shine. It’s big!”