Oregon State Hospital Prepares To Open Final Wing

by Chris Lehman, from National Public Radio, March 1, 2012

The tree in this courtyard was preserved when the previous State Hospital building was torn down to make way for the new one in the background. (Photo by Chris Lehman)

The tree in this courtyard was preserved when the previous State Hospital building was torn down to make way for the new one in the background. (Photo by Chris Lehman)

The Oregon State Hospital is just weeks away from opening the final wing on its newly updated Salem facility. But many of the beds will remain empty because of budget cuts pending in the Oregon legislature.

The new State Hospital includes common areas designed to maximize natural light. (Photo courtesy of the Oregon State Hospital)

The new State Hospital includes common areas designed to maximize natural light. (Photo courtesy of the Oregon State Hospital)

About 180 patients are scheduled to move into the new wing later this month. The building largely replaces a crumbling brick behemoth that dated back to 1883. It became famous as the filming location for the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

State Hospital spokeswoman Rebeka Gipson-King gave me a tour of the new building. She says it’s designed to look less like a prison and more like a place where people get better.

“I think that really helps, for the recovery oriented environment, to not see that cyclone fencing and razor wire,” Gipson-King says. “Instead you have these very nicely landscaped outdoor areas where patients can go to have fun and relax.”

The new hospital is designed to house as many as 620 patients. But about seven dozen beds would remain vacant for the next year under a budget-cutting proposal in the Oregon legislature.

Hospital officials say the cut would reduce their ability to place new patients in the unit most suited to their needs.

The new wing of the Oregon State Hospital will be open for public tours Friday March 2nd from 1 until 6:30 pm.


See also:

Statesman Journal: State Hospital Nears Finish of New Facility

Oregon State Hospital Replacement Project: Oregon State Hospital – The Story of Baby Hercules

Mental Health Association of Portland: Oregon State Hospital Opens New Wing, Offers Public Tours, and More


‘Like’ this Posting on Facebook