YOUR GOVERNMENT: Marion County Commissioners approve state money for mental health treatment

The Marion County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday approved an expansion of funding for care coordination for adults with mental illnesses.

Commissioners unanimously approved accepting about $1.27 million from the Oregon Health Authority for the county to provide behavioral health treatment and care coordination for people served in the state’s Choice Model Services program. The program is intended to help get adults with mental illness treatment in settings that fit their needs.

The money will also pay for treatment for people with serious and persistent mental illness. The board unanimously approved hiring Matthew Piehler, a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, to provide that treatment. The county will pay Piehler $575,000 over the next two years, according to the agenda item.

Commissioners unanimously approved a $1.8 million contract with Advanced Security Inc. to provide unarmed security and vehicular patrol for Marion County Health and Human Services locations. The contract expires at the end of 2026.

The board approved a $248,000 contract with research and analysis firm CNA Corporation to assess the Marion County Sheriff’s Office’s financial needs for public safety services over the next five to ten years.

The contractor will also determine if the sheriff’s office provides “a proportionate balance between criminal intervention, civil processes, rehabilitation, and local custody needs,” according to the agenda item. 

Commissioners unanimously approved all other agenda items, including reappointing Pamela Zielinski to the Marion County Fair Board, replacing hardware and software for video surveillance at the Marion County Jail and postponing a public hearing to consider expanding the city of Aumsville’s urban growth boundary for a new public park.

The board also unanimously approved providing $112,000 of federal funding to Salem’s Boys & Girls Club. The money will help pay for staff, food and supplies for its Healthy Lifestyle Program at the Epping Homestead clubhouse in east Salem.

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.