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Columbia Community Mental Health will expand bed capacity for residential and medical detox program in new location

PMG PHOTO: NICOLE THILL-PACHECO - The Columbia Community Mental Health program will be relocating its residential detox programs from Columbia Boulevard and 4th Street to a larger facility at Highway 30 and Wyeth Street where Legacy Health clinic and urgent care operations were previously located. Columbia Community Mental Health is looking to relocate its residential and medical detoxification facility to a larger location in St. Helens in order to serve more people.

Officials with the behavioral health nonprofit are hoping to relocate from their current location on Columbia Boulevard and Fourth Street to a larger building on Highway 30 and Wyeth Street, where the Legacy Health clinic and urgent care operation was previously sited.

By relocating the CCMH's residential addiction treatment facility to a bigger space, the program can expand bed capacity and create housing for its new medical detoxification program.

The Legacy Health clinic and urgent care recently relocated to a brand new building on Highway 30 near McBride Street, leaving the old location available for new tenants.

Julia Jackson, executive director for CCMH, spoke before the St. Helens Planning Commission in mid-June to get approval of a conditional use permit to occupy the facility.

"It should be a place you would want to send your loved ones. ... I mean, we have to acknowledge we've got friends and family members, neighbors, using these services," Jackson said. "We would want this environment to be something comfortable for friends and family."

She added, "I understand where the stigma comes with mental health and substance abuse. They are a high risk population. They aren't thinking right or their behavior is erratic or out of control. However, if we don't provide these essential services they are still going to be sick on the streets."

Currently, the medical detox program can only support nine people at a time. In the new facility, CCMH can open up 16 beds and will be able to allow walk-in admission, a service currently not offered, Jackson explained.

Bridge to Pathways is a 90-day treatment program. Jackson has revamped the program by offering a new set of protocols to help increase the likelihood that treatment plans will be successful, which she explained briefly during the planning commission meeting.

Creating a walk-in medical detox center will also address a community need, Jackson explained. Currently, when someone needs a place to safely detox, law enforcement must either take people to the Columbia County Jail or to Portland-area hospitals or facilities, which is expensive and time-consuming for local officers, Jackson explained.

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