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New Psychiatric Hospital In Junction City Readies For Patients

Karen Richards

The new Oregon State Hospital in Junction City hosted public tours today (Thursday). Approved by the State Legislature in 2007, the campus is nearly ready to accept patients.

The state-run psychiatric hospital has the capacity to house 174 people. It will offer treatment to adults who are civilly or criminally committed.

Greg Roberts is Superintendent of the Oregon State Hospital. He says philosophies have changed since he started working in mental health in the 1970s. Then, people often remained in the institutions for life:

Roberts: “Now, because the community mental health systems have developed so much, the goal of a hospital like this is really just like a physical medicine hospital. You come in because you can’t live in the community. Your mental illness makes you too dangerous to yourself or to other people. You come here for treatment. Our treatment is geared only to get you out.”

The $84 million dollar facility was paid for with state funds. In mid-March, a group of 65 patients and staff will move in-tact from Salem. That will free up room in that hospital for people from a small facility in Portland, which will then close.

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.
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