Marion County commissioners consider funding for addiction, mental health treatment

The Marion County Board of Commissioners meets Wednesday to consider two grants from the Oregon Health Authority for community-based programs. The programs provide addiction treatment and serve people facing criminal charges who are found unable to aid and assist in their own defense.


Commissioners will consider accepting about $6.42 million from the health authority to operate and contract services for addiction treatment services through December 2023. Oregon’s Measure 110 Oversight and Accountability Council, established after the passing of the state law intended to take drug users out of jails and put them into clinics, is providing at least one grant to every county and federally recognized tribe in Oregon.

The board will also consider accepting about $902,000 from the agency for programs serving people found unable to assist in their defense, due to a mental illness or disability. The number of patients being admitted to the Oregon State Hospital after being found unfit to proceed in court “is at an unsustainable level,” according to the agenda item, and it is increasingly difficult for community mental health programs to make services available to those not needing a hospital level of care. The funding would be retroactive to July 2022 and last through June 2023.

Commissioners will consider expanding the county’s 10-year cable television contract with Comcast of Oregon to include the unincorporated areas of Marion County through June 2028. Comcast is starting to expand service to all of Marion County and is seeking to reach franchise agreements with cities throughout the county. “As they expand their infrastructure to those cities, they would like to then provide similar services to potential customers within the unincorporated areas of Marion County to the extent that Comcast is willing to develop related infrastructure,” the agenda item said.

The board will consider adding about $102,000 to a contract with the federal Bureau of Land Management for Marion County Sheriff’s Office patrol of BLM land through September 2023. That would extend the contract total to about $269,000.

They will also consider a contract with the city of Salem, which would contribute $600,000 for structural capacity improvements to Southeast Culver Drive. The city has proposed connecting the county road with Gaia Street, a city street, as part of the development of an industrial business complex on the 29.5 acre parcel, according to city documents. “Culver Drive lacks the structural capacity to support the commercial traffic anticipated from the development,” the agenda item said.

Meeting details: The commissioners meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Senator Hearing Room at 555 Court Street N.E. Anyone can sign up to give public comment in-person at the meeting. The meeting is streamed live on YouTube

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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Ardeshir Tabrizian has covered criminal justice and housing for Salem Reporter since September 2021. As an Oregon native, his award-winning watchdog journalism has traversed the state. He has done reporting for The Oregonian, Eugene Weekly and Malheur Enterprise.