According to this article from the Associated Press, Oregon's DHS will allow ignorant red necks with guns decide where people with mental health issues live. NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) has won out over the best interests of these folks. It amazes me that these sorts of Cro-Magnons have managed to survive in Fossil.
Community stops treatment center outside Fossil
5/30/2008, 1:17 a.m. PDT
The Associated Press
FOSSIL, Ore. (AP) — Community opposition has derailed plans to build a residential treatment center for mentally ill sex offenders near Fossil.
Morrow-Wheeler Behavioral Health, a private nonprofit, sought to build the treatment center three miles outside the Eastern Oregon town of less than 500 people. It received a $1.06 million Oregon Department of Human Services grant to develop the eight-bed facility.
Small-scale, secure residential treatment facilities are needed for the mentally ill, and nine are proposed for development in the 2007-09 biennium, said Ken Palke, a DHS spokesman in Salem.
Oregon isn't allowed to warehouse mentally ill patients in large institutions, and small, community-based facilities are "good for the patient and good for the patient families," he said.
But the prospect of mentally ill sex offenders living nearby made many residents uncomfortable, said Dan Robinson, 45, of Fossil. Some locals worried about the possibility of escapes and objected to plans for a therapy program that included patient outings, he said.
Caught in the storm of opposition were Wheeler County District Attorney Tom Cutsforth and Sheriff Dan Rouse. Both were appointed to the nonprofit's board because of their county positions.
Documents calling for Cutsforth's recall because of his participation in the project were submitted May 16 to the Oregon secretary of state's office. The same day, Rouse announced he was taking a leave of absence until Sept. 1.
The opposition peaked this month when a local man sent a threatening e-mail to state officials. The note said he intended to drive along the road and shoot sex offenders after the facility was built, Cutsforth said. At that point, local and state officials felt they couldn't justify investing in a place where patients wouldn't be safe, he said.
A selling point was the prospect of 15 jobs paying $30,000 a year plus a $60,000-a-year nursing job, Cutsforth said. The nonprofit hired an administrator, put down earnest money on the building site and broke ground before backing away from the project.
"I think Wheeler County has shot themselves in the foot here," Cutsforth said.
Robinson, however, said Fossil is too far from the nearest large hospital, and has inadequate law enforcement, ambulance and fire protection services. Putting mentally ill sex offenders "in a remote area like this without medical and fire protection seems to be a real harebrained idea," he said.
Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com