Washington County board gives green light on development of comprehensive substance use treatment center

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Sponsored by: Health and Human Services Department, Behavioral Health Division

Washington County is one step closer to having a much-needed comprehensive substance use treatment center. Today the Board of County Commissioners unanimously adopted the Center for Addictions Triage and Treatment (CATT) Feasibility Study and directed staff to move forward with the project. 

The need for substance use disorder services is enormous. Oregon ranks 48th in the nation for access to substance use disorder (SUD) services. Some services are not available at all in the county, especially for those who rely on publicly funded services. There are currently only 28 residential treatment beds in Washington County for people looking for help.

“We know how mental health needs and addiction can be co-present in the experiences of many individuals who might otherwise fall through the cracks,” Board of County Commissioners Chair Kathryn Harrington said. “Moving this community-developed proposal forward quickly will be a critical step toward addressing the extraordinary need for life-saving addiction treatment services in our county.” 

The CATT will offer assessments, sobering, withdrawal management (detox), residential treatment and stabilization services. Peer-delivered services will be offered at every level of the program. The center will add 73 to 97 treatment beds to the county’s system of care. Services will be delivered in a culturally responsive manner by one or more community providers selected through a competitive process.

The model is centered on the value that people can get better through coordinated community partnerships and timely access to comprehensive treatment. This program will emphasize safety, inclusion and respect. The CATT will bring together resources and services to help coordinate various social services, including future plans to co-locate homeless and employment support.

“Our vision for the CATT is to divert people from the criminal justice system and hospital emergency departments and connect them instead to peer supports and drug and alcohol treatment that is responsive to their individual needs,” Project Manager Kristin Burke said.

The concept development was led by the county’s Behavioral Health Division, but it was a community effort. More than 180 people – in particular those with lived experience around substance use disorder treatment and recovery – provided input into the feasibility study, which is available on the county’s website. The study includes design features, financial analysis, a program and services outline, and a masterplan for implementation. 

The CATT is estimated to cost up to $72 million. Building funds will come from county behavioral health reserves, marijuana tax dollars and potentially from opioid settlement dollars. Services will be covered by Medicaid, marijuana tax dollars and insurance payors.

With today’s board adoption of the feasibility study, staff will move forward with finding the most suitable and accessible location for the center. This could mean buying and modifying an existing property or purchasing land and building a new facility. 

“Our goal is to open the center within the next two or three years,” said Burke. “Of course, with any project of this size and complexity, the timeline could shift based on any number of factors. We will have to be patient and stay nimble. In the end, we are going to have a center that will be life-changing for so many of our community members.”

For more information and to sign up for regular project updates, visit www.co.washington.or.us/CATT.

Media Contact:

Wendy Gordon, Dept. Communications Coordinator
503-849-9117
wendy_gordon@co.washington.or.us