Clatsop County Sheriff’s race: lack of mental health services under fire

From the Daily Astorian, October 11, 2012

Both Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin and Oregon State Police Trooper Jim Pierce, who answered questions Wednesday night at the American Association of University Women’s candidates forum, care about the mentally ill getting more help when involved with the authorities in Clatsop County.

The two candidates for Clatsop County Sheriff differ, however, on how those mentally ill should be housed, with Bergin wanting a new mental-health center built and Pierce wanting the Clatsop County Community Corrections Transition Center reopened.

They took part in the candidates forum Wednesday night sponsored by the Astoria chapter of the American Association of University Women and hosted by Clatsop Community College.

The transition center, opened in 2006 in Warrenton, was a residential center housing 24 males and six females, providing a holding facility for local offenders and people about to be released back into the community. Members of the facility held jobs, were on work crews and took part in treatments and other mental health services during their stay. It closed April 1, 2011 because of budget constraints.

The county only needs a few rooms, said Bergin, to house people with mental disabilities until their transfer to mental health services elsewhere, and the transition center is too expensive to operate.

Click here to read the rest of this article, originally titled “Sheriff’s race: Status quo under fire”