Information about the proposed secure residential treatment facility at 2808 SE Balfour St., Milwaukie, Oregon
The project is also known as “Johnson Creek SRTF” by ColumbiaCare Services, Inc.
News & Announcements
Updated: October 16, 2009
Oct. 16, 2009 — The Good Neighbor Agreement between Columbia Care Services and Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association has been signed. View Document (PDF, 3 MB).
Feb. 23, 2009—The State of Oregon Governor’s Psychiatric Security Review Board Siting Workgroup final report is now available online (PDF file). Read the press release.
Be sure to check out our YouTube Video channel for new video clips of the meetings and citizens’ testimonies.
Video clips of the November 11, 2008 Ardenwald-Johnson Creek neighborhood meeting.
ColumbiaCare’s Project Fact Sheet is available online at www.CommunityCares.info. ColumbiaCare Services, Inc named the project “Johnson Creek SRTF.”
ColumbiaCare will be attending the November 11, 2008 neighborhood meeting for a Q & A and to share new information about the facility. Meeting notice flyers are being distributed to AJC residents beginning November 1.
POSITION ADOPTED BY THE OREGON STATE SHERIFFS’ ASSOCIATION AND OREGON ASSOCIATION OF CHIEFS OF POLICE December, 2007, encouraging the PSRB to suspend implementation of their policy of transferring forensic clients to group homes in neighborhoods throughout Oregon. Posted on the Washington County Sheriff’s website.
Ardenwald residents protest against the proposed residential treatment facility (PDF press release), Sunday September 28th, 10:30am, near the corner of SE 29th Avenue & SE Balfour Street.
On September 16th, the Milwaukie City Council voted to settle the lawsuit with Columbia Care Services, Inc, which intends to use the property as a secure residential treatment facility.
Oregon DOJ presentation on legal issues regarding Treatment Facilities (2.5MB download Power Point presentation).
Oregon residents: Please sign our petition and help us make a difference!This is not an issue specific to the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood, but an issue that also impacts other neighborhoods throughout the state of Oregon. Anyone residing in the state of Oregon may sign the petition.Note: Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association does not sponsor or endorse any organizations or websites provided in the Google Ad links found on any page of our online petition.
Check out the YouTube Video of the neighborhood to show the inappropriateness of this project.
Psychiatric Security Review Board Siting Workgroup final report (Feb. 6, 2009)
Download an informational flyer about the Balfour House and spread the word.
Contact Information & Emails Updates
For further questions or comments on the issue, please contact:
To sign up for our email updates, please send an email with your request to:
Contact list of the public and elected officials related to Balfour House issue
(Updated: Oct. 31, 2008)
About the Issue
What is the issue? Columbia Care Services Inc. (CCSI) is putting a 15 bed Secure Residential Treatment Facility (SRTF) in the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek neighborhood in the city of Milwaukie. The facility will house conditional release forensic patients being transitioned from the State Mental Hospital. The site is zoned R-7; low-density, single-family residential only. Although the city purchased the property legally last November, (after more than 200 neighbors showed up on a Tuesday night to voice their concerns before county commissioner Lynn Peterson and state representative Carolyn Tomei, neither of whom will help us) CCSI filed a discrimination lawsuit against the city in February 2008. This lawsuit stated that the City was discriminating against the mentally ill, who are disabled, and therefore a “protected class.” The lawsuit demanded that the city sell the property directly to them. The city settled this lawsuit in October, 2008 and agreed to sell the property to them. CCSI plans to begin construction in Feb. 2008 and to open in September of 2009.
What do they want to do? The facility will be built west of SE 32nd Avenue on 2808 SE Balfour Street. It will be an 8,500 sq ft building with 15 bedrooms, 24 x 7 staffing, and a 24 space parking lot. 8 or more of the proposed residents will be under the jurisdiction of Oregon’s Psychiatric Security Review Board (PSRB). These would be people who have committed violent or other dangerous crimes and are deemed “guilty except for insanity.” These crimes include murder, rape, child sexual molestation, assault, and arson. To be placed in the proposed facility in our neighborhood, the PSRB requires that the patient not be a threat to the community. While only 3.4% of these ‘safe’ patients committed a new felony in 2007, 15% of them were still returned to the State Hospital for failing their release conditions. The other beds in the facility will be used by Clackamas county and others for patients who need a ‘locked’ facility. This could be people who voluntarily commit themselves to avoid prosecution. At some point patients will be allowed off the grounds on both supervised and unsupervised excursions. Standard procedures do not allow staff to restrain patients who “walk away” but only to call 911.
How can they do this? This facility is for patients who are mentally ill. Mentally ill people are considered disabled people. The Federal Fair Housing Act (FFHA) prohibits discrimination in housing against disabled people. According to State and Federal law, they have the right to put a facility housing up to 15 people in a single family neighborhood. Our city is required to consider this facility as if it were a single family home with regards to zoning, permits, etc. The law denies any consideration for the concerns or rights of the neighborhood in which the facility is located.
Why are they doing this? Oregon State has let the existing facilities in Salem fall apart. New facilities are being built but part of the plan is to create transitional housing in the communities where the patients came from. This is being done in a secret, yet legal, manner by our county and State government. Many smaller homes/facilities have been built. Only a few ‘secure’ facilities exist at present but more are being planned. The number of patients under the jurisdiction of the PSRB is rising at a substantial rate and they need somewhere to put them.
This sounds reasonable. However, the fact of the matter is that the neighborhood site on Balfour is cheaper. They could have built this on county land near the county office buildings. If they are being that cheap regarding the building of this one facility, why would we believe that they will provide adequate funding and wages to run the facility safely?
Why are we concerned? Many of us believe that a secure lockdown facility of 15 or more people, some of whom will have committed violent acts (murder, rape, sexual and child molestation, arson, etc.), does not belong within an area of single family homes. It is not a matter of discrimination against the disabled and mentally ill. It is a matter of putting people who have committed violence in our neighborhoods. This is not appropriate.
Immediately next door and across the street from this facility there are 4 houses containing 7 young children (ages 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 10). As you expand the area to the next streets you get many more children and elderly citizens including the Hillside community with 43 children and over 170 elderly and disabled. Our local elementary school, which is less than 1 mile away, is a walk-only school. This school is undergoing a big expansion right now, and will increase its enrollment by hundreds of children.
Due to recent events, such as patients escaping at other similar facilities, the governor’s office has convened a PSRB Siting Work Group. The meetings and minutes of this group are secret. Almost everything about this process is secret. HIPAA is even used to prevent notification of local law enforcement when a convicted sex offender is moved into a facility!
The more we find out about these facilities, the more concerned we become. There are effectively no standards, or else extremely vague ones. Statistics that have been provided are skewed or incomplete. Even the State association of Chiefs of Police and Sheriffs are against this. As neighbors we are honestly and truly fearful.
What can you do to help? At this stage, it appears that the only arena left to argue our case and voice our concerns is our collective “Public Voice.” Please help us to communicate your thoughts and concerns on this matter to our local politicians. The contact list is a start. Your neighborhood association is working on this situation as well but we need your help! We have held protests, gone to meetings, and met with county and state officials. We have an online petition (www.ipetitions.com/petition/treatmentfacilities) as well. Please sign it and let us know your feelings.
Members of the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood.