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The Oregon Health Authority says it expects to provide a draft recommendation on decision of whether to allow the facility in the next 90 days

Following about two years of review, the Oregon Health Authority announced it has completed the Certificate of Need process for NEWCO Oregon's development of a psychiatric hospital in Wilsonville.

OHA now expects to issue a draft recommendation for a final ruling in the next 90 days.

The Spokesman could not immediately reach the OHA. However, Michael Sorensen, who has worked on the application and is the director of business development for Cedar Hills Hospital (also owned by NEWCO Oregon), said he has heard from the state agency that a hearing will take place as part of the process in April.

NEWCO Oregon previously had applied to build the hospital but was rejected in 2017. Both the Wilsonville government and the Wilsonville Chamber of Commerce have expressed support for the proposal, which will cost $50 million and include capacity for 100 patients. Sorensen said the hospital would add about 250 employees.

"We are in the business of providing behavioral health services across the country," Sorensen said. "Based on our experience and research, this is an opportunity to be a part of the solution in Oregon. We're jumping in with both feet."

Regional leaders sent a letter to Gov. Kate Brown asking her to waive the certificate of need process in 2020 so the facility could be developed quickly. Brown did not acquiesce. Mental Health America ranked Oregon last in the nation in terms of prevalence of mental illness and access to care for adults. The facility also would provide beds for teenagers.

"In the end, we believe in the project and that the community needs it," Sorensen said. "The fact that it's taken two years is definitely sad, but we've had COVID and there's been questions in between. We're happy it was declared complete and we get to move forward with the process."


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