The administrator of the $458 million Oregon State Hospital replacement project will shift to a new job early next year, becoming interim director of the state office of addictions and mental health treatment programs.
Linda Hammond, who has steered construction of a soon-to-be-completed state hospital complex in Salem, will succeed Richard Harris as head of the Addictions and Mental Health Division, or AMH.
Harris is retiring in January.
Bruce Goldberg, director of the Oregon Health Authority, announced the looming leadership change in an email circulated Wednesday.
Goldberg credited Harris for providing “innovative, thoughtful and inspirational” leadership “during a time of great change and challenge for our agency.”
Harris’ accomplishments included hiring Greg Roberts, the current superintendent of the state hospital, and overseeing transformation of the 128-year-old psychiatric facility “into a place of hope, healing and safety,” Goldberg said.
He said Hammond is the right person to step in as interim AMH director, citing her “strong administrative experience and a proven ability to lead people through change.”
Goldberg said a national search for a permanent director will be conducted in the summer.
Hammond has received kudos from state leaders for keeping the hospital replacement project on schedule and within its budget.
Completion of a state-of-the-art 620-bed hospital in Salem is scheduled for early next year. After that, construction will start on a smaller mental hospital on state prison land in Junction City.
In 2007, legislators approved construction of two hospitals to replace the crumbling, long-neglected psychiatric hospital in Salem, which opened in 1883 and was deemed obsolete and unsafe by state-hired consultants in 2005.
For the past several months, Hammond has held a dual role — as administrator of the hospital replacement project and interim chief financial officer for the Oregon Health Authority.
In an email to co-workers Wednesday, Hammond said Jodie Jones, deputy administrator of the hospital replacement project, will take the reins as its administrator.
“What I realized while I was in my dual-roles of interim chief financial officer and project administrator is that the project is too important — this team is too important — not to have a full-time, designated leader,” Hammond wrote.
“During my absence, Jodie has done an outstanding job, with support from all of you, as this project’s on-site administrator. I have asked and she has accepted this as her permanent role. She will continue to report to me but in my position as interim AMH administrator.”