WashCo News August 2021

BCC gives green light to develop comprehensive substance use treatment center

Washington County is one step closer to having a much-needed comprehensive substance use treatment center. In late July the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) unanimously adopted the Center for Addictions Triage and Treatment (CATT) Feasibility Study and directed staff to move forward with the project.

catt logo

The need for substance use disorder services is enormous. Oregon ranks 48th in the nation for access to substance use disorder (SUD) services. Some services are not available at all in the county, especially for those who rely on publicly funded services. There are currently only 28 residential treatment beds in Washington County for people looking for help.

“We know how mental health needs and addiction can be co-present in the experiences of many individuals who might otherwise fall through the cracks,” BCC Chair Kathryn Harrington said. “Moving this community-developed proposal forward quickly will be a critical step toward addressing the extraordinary need for life-saving addiction treatment services in our county.”

The CATT will offer assessments, sobering, withdrawal management (detox), residential treatment, and stabilization services. Peer-delivered services will be offered at every level of the program. The center will add 73 to 97 treatment beds to the county’s system of care. Services will be delivered in a culturally responsive manner by one or more community providers selected through a competitive process.

“Our vision for the CATT is to divert people from the criminal justice system and hospital emergency departments and connect them instead to peer supports and drug and alcohol treatment that is responsive to their individual needs,” Project Manager Kristin Burke said.

Sunset Credit union

The concept development was led by the county’s Behavioral Health Division, but it was a community effort. More than 180 people—in particular those with lived experience—provided input into the feasibility study, which is available on the county’s website. The study includes design features, financial analysis, a program and services outline, and a masterplan for implementation.

The CATT is estimated to cost up to $72 million. Building funds will come from county behavioral health reserves, marijuana tax dollars, and potentially from opioid settlement dollars. Services will be covered by Medicaid, marijuana tax dollars, and insurance payors.

With the board adoption of the feasibility study, staff will move forward with finding the most suitable and accessible location for the center. This could mean buying and modifying an existing property or purchasing land and building a new facility.

“Our goal is to open the center within the next two or three years,” said Burke. “Of course, with any project of this size and complexity, the timeline could shift based on any number of factors. We will have to be patient and stay nimble. In the end, we are going to have a center that will be life-changing for so many of our community members.”

For more information and to sign up for regular project updates, visit this page.

A cottage cluster consists of smaller homes around shared open space. Cohousing can be a form of cottage cluster.

What is Middle Housing? 

In 2019, the Oregon Legislature created House Bill 2001 to expand housing options to help accommodate the population growth that’s expected as climate change drives people from unlivable areas, as families grow, and as new industry expands around us. It’s also expected to relieve pressure on the housing market since these housing types can be more affordable and meet the housing needs of many younger people, older people, and people who work hard but can’t afford a large, detached house of their own.

Row houses share walls but usually have private yards.

Community Planning staff is considering changes to the Washington County Community Development Code to allow more middle housing—duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes and cottage clusters—in neighborhoods where single-detached homes are allowed, and to make the approval process less complicated. Under House Bill 2001 many local governments throughout Oregon are required to do this to create more housing choices that suit a variety of households.

Developers and property owners will implement these options, and the county must learn how it can encourage it by making it easier to implement.

Share your opinions

Washington County’s Middle Housing Online Open House is available through August 13. The Open House provides a step-by-step lesson in how it can work and what some options are.

Visit the online open house to see how middle housing might meet your needs, or the needs of your friends, family members, neighbors, and community. Learn about the benefits of middle housing and then take the brief survey —it takes less than 10 minutes—to share your ideas. Your input will help guide the Project Team in its recommendations to the Washington County Board of Commissioners.

On September 14, plan to attend the CPO 1 meeting on Zoom, when Anne Kelly, Washington County LUT Senior Planner, will connect with CPO 1 members about County implementation of the middle housing bill and how it can increase housing variety to help meet people’s needs. Take the survey, and then bring your questions to the meeting.