Contact: Thomas Hottman
Stan Gilbert, Director of Klamath Basin Behavioral Health
The Oregon Health Authority awarded a $250,000 grant for the construction of a sobering station in Klamath Falls.
Stan Gilbert, Klamath Basin Behavioral Health executive director, said they applied for the grant as part of the Klamath County Community Mental Health Program and were awarded the funds June 23. The sobering station, a place for severely intoxicated people to recover, would be among planned human service facilities on South Sixth Street in Klamath Falls. The preliminary date for construction is set for August.
Other funds for the sobering station include a contribution of $200,000 from Sky Lakes Medical Center, community contributions and $40,000 dedicated by the Klamath County Commissioners.
"Receiving this grant will push us over the top, so to speak, regarding our ability to build the facility," Gilbert said.
The purpose of a sobering station is to send intoxicated people to the center rather than to jail or the hospital, therefore lowering costs and population flow for Sky Lakes and the Klamath County Jail.
Sky Lakes, Klamath Falls, KBBH, Cascade Health Alliance, Klamath Tribal Health, Klamath County Community Corrections and Klamath Works are the main organizations involved with the project.
Gilbert said the coming challenges lie in continuing to find funding for operating the facility 24/7.
"Sobering is not a billable service," Gilbert said. "In terms of health care funding it's not something we can bill anybody for, so as a community we have to come up with the operation funds."
Gilbert said those involved with the project visited other sobering stations in the Rogue Valley area to get an idea of the design and operations at the facilities.
He added they're looking at developed projects to learn about policies and procedures, and how to use those strategies to benefit Klamath's sobering station. Gilbert said most communities have a sobering station, and it's something that Klamath Falls has pursued for over 10 years.
"We just never had the wherewithal to build it or to fund it," Gilbert said. "So I think this is a huge step for our community."
He said the sobering station will provide benefits to a variety of constituencies and stakeholders throughout the community, from law enforcement to the Sky Lakes Emergency Department to alcohol and drug treatment providers and the patients.
"It's a good thing. We're really pleased to be at a point here in Klamath where we can get this thing started," Gilbert said. "It's something that has been needed for a long time."