State Hospital Prepares To Open Final Wing

Mar 2, 2012

SALEM, Ore. – 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. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

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.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network [030112CL_statehospital1.jpg 030112CL_statehospital2.jpg The new State Hospital include common areas designed to maximize natural light. Photo courtesy of the Oregon State Hospital.]