Oregon state legislature debates closing psychiatric hospital

Several state lawmakers are fighting to keep Junction City-based Oregon State Hospital up and running after Gov. Kate Brown (D) recommended shuttering the psychiatric hospital in her proposed state budget for 2017, according to KVAL/CBS-13 News.

While shuttering the hospital would save the state nearly $35 million, legislators argue the hospital provides "critical services" to the community and benefits the state economy, according to the article.

Lawmakers are reportedly discussing several options for the facility, including permanently closing the hospital, keeping it open and reducing funds allocated to other entities in the budget, or a compromise, where the state would keep the hospital open, but operate at a lower capacity with fewer beds.

If the hospital were to close, the state would still be responsible for paying the $130 million it invested in the facility over the next 20 years. Shuttering the facility could also jeopardize employment for 400 persons who work at the hospital, according to the article.

A decision will be issued in the next few months, according to the article.

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