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Lane County gets $1.5 M from omnibus package towards behavioral health crisis stabilization center

Erin Scott/White House
White House
President Joe Biden signs the bipartisan omnibus appropriations bill.

The 2023 federal omnibus bill is helping Lane County establish a behavioral health crisis stabilization center.

$1.5 million will go towards equipment and facilities for the center, in addition to $7 million previously approved by the Lane County Board of Commissioners.

Jason Davis, the public information officer for the county’s Health and Human Services Department, told KLCC how this will benefit local efforts to provide efficient crisis response.

“Our hospitals act as a crisis center but we have never had a concerted effort to develop and to work 24/7 stabilization center where anybody -regardless of who you are in our community- if you're in crisis and in need of mental health support to go there, walk through the door and receive services. That's what's really lacking in our community.”

The behavioral health crisis stabilization center will be built in the vicinity of several other Lane County services, along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Davis says it should be open by the end of 2024 or early 2025.

The center will also help alleviate the workload for hospitals, police, and the mobile crisis intervention center, CAHOOTS.

Brian Bull
In this photo from February 2019, a CAHOOTS team helps an unidentified woman into the Hourglass Community Crisis Center.

“It will offer CAHOOTS a place to triage folks,” said Davis. “That will cut down on the amount of time that they have when they are interacting with an individual in crisis, which will free them up to have greater capacity.

“And then what happens is once an individual enters the stabilization center, they will be immediately triaged for their need. We have the ability to house them for up to a couple of weeks while we go through that that journey of stabilization.”

Demand for crisis response services spiked across Eugene-Springfield during the pandemic, straining mental health service providers and emergency responders.

Lane County is receiving funds from the 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill for two other projects, according to a government press release:

* $176,000 to the Lane County Sheriff’s Office to replace its Dispatch Center consoles. The Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center is an all-day, every-day operation that provides critical emergency communications services to deputies across Lane County. While the facility is technologically current, the personnel workstations are functionally obsolete. These funds will provide for the first upgrade of the workstations in more than 15 years.

* $1.5 million to help ensure the multi-use facility being considered for the Lane Events Center can be built to “immediate occupancy standard” – meaning the structure would withstand and be immediately occupiable after a Cascadia seismic event. Although Lane County is one of the most populated counties in Oregon, there are few facilities here that can operate as a safe evacuation site for the public after a significant seismic event. This investment would be combined with $7.5 million previously appropriated by the Oregon Legislature for this project. If commissioners do not decide to move ahead with the facility the funding will be returned. 

©2023, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.