Holladay Park out as crisis center site

From the Oregonian, February 2, 1995 – not online

Plans to site a mental health crisis center at the former Holladay Park Hospital in Northeast Portland building are dead.

Howard Klink, deputy director of the county Community and Family Services Division, said Wednesday that plans for the center have fallen through.

His comments follow a letter from Mitchell Olejko, chief legal officer for Legacy Health System, to Portland Mayor Vera Katz, in which he says the medical group planned to use the remaining space at the building at 1225 N.E. Second Ave. for either “some of our own services” or leasing to “other external parties.”

The decision apparently does not change plans by Legacy to lease space at Holladay Park to the state Mental Health Division for long-term, intermediate care for up to 70 patients from Dammasch Hospital in Wilsonville. for an intermediate care program. Dammasch is in the process of closing down.

“These actions preclude Legacy Health Systems from leasing to Multnomah County for a ‘mental health crisis triage unit,’ ” the letter said.

The action comes as good news for the Lloyd District Community Association and the Portland Trail Blazers, both of which had opposed the idea of a crisis center in the hospital, which has been used as a mental health facility since the 1940s.

It also puts to an end — for now — to the confusion over the details of a proposed crisis center.

While the Lloyd association was convinced that such a plan was in the making, Legacy officials had repeatedly denied plans to lease space at Holladay Park for a crisis center.

Now, however, that debate is moot.

Larry Hill, vice president of Legacy, repeated as much at a meeting this week with the Lloyd District Community Association.

However, Hill said, “It’s our attorney’s view and my view that we have the right to withhold approval to sublease, and we won’t rent to Multnomah County. End of discussion.”

Klink, deputy director of the county Community and Family Services Division, says he agrees with that interpretation.

The letter “makes it pretty clear what their authority is and what their intentions are,” Klink said.

Meanwhile, the county is continuing to develop plans for a crisis center, where the police can bring people suffering from apparent mental problems for short-term confinement, analysis and transfer to an appropriate facility, Klink says.

However, he says, as a site for such a facility, “As far as we are concerned, Holladay Park is not an option.”

The discussion over whether a crisis center would be established at Holladay Park started right after state health officials proposed a 10-year contract with Legacy to lease space for patients from Dammasch.

Klink said the state in October had approached the county about the idea of subleasing space in the building for a crisis triage center .

The situation became further complicated when the Lloyd District Community Association land-use committee learned of the state’s idea and began holding a series of talks in an effort to kill the idea.