Two legislators say drug recovery center is ‘unacceptable risk’ in Woodmont

by Jack Mayne

Two state legislators have sent community members a letter opposing the siting of the Woodmont Recovery Center on Pacific Highway near a school and a library.

The two are veteran State Rep. Tina Orwall and recently appointed Rep. Carol Gregory, both Democrats.

“We have serious concerns about the siting plans for the Woodmont Recovery Center in the Woodmont neighborhood,” said the Orwall and Gregory letter, dated Sept. 15.

“After careful research and feedback from the community, we oppose the current siting and are strongly recommending that another location be found for the recovery center.”

Their opposition comes after a similar opposition letter from King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove was sent to the community on Sept. 8 (read our previous coverage here).

Neither legislator mentioned the state law requirement that such facilities must be sited by a city, the reason Des Moines officials say they issued permits.

Need Understood
Orwall and Gregory wrote that they understood “the need for these critical mental health and chemical dependency services in South King County, and we commend the Valley Cities organization for working hard to meet that community need.

“We equally appreciate that there are two important processes needed to increase services,” said the joint letter to the community. “The first is revenue; the second is the siting of those services.”

The two legislators said that the 2015 session of the Washington Legislature took “appropriate measures in funding these much needed services for south King County,

But they said they “believe that the siting of the proposed new facility is not appropriate for the neighborhood.”

Unacceptable Risk
The reason, Orwall and Gregory wrote, was that the “proposed campus contains high acuity services including a detox facility, a methadone clinic, and an involuntary psychiatric facility all located within close proximity to Woodmont Elementary School.

“We believe that having these acute services located so close to a school is an unacceptable risk.”

They added that they remain “committed to continuing to work with the community to find an appropriate site for this much needed facility in South King County.

“We will continue to explore all possible options in pursuit of a successful resolution for the entire community that puts the security of our kids, families, and communities first,” concluded the two legislators.


14 Responses to “Two legislators say drug recovery center is ‘unacceptable risk’ in Woodmont”
  1. John Castronover says:

    Tina Orwall, Carol Gregory, a very heartfelt THANK YOU we stand with you in your opposition to this facility’s location just as you stand with your community against this facility, Toghter we can have this facility moved. for the safety of all of our children we say THANK YOU to you both.

  2. Martin Metz says:

    I may not always agree with these representatives’ political outlooks, but they certainly are right on this matter. The extensive services being proposed for the Woodmont facility put our children at risk. This is a unifying issue that crosses political party boundaries. Now, where are Representative Gregerson and Senator Keiser on this issue? Are they able to see the priority that needs to be placed on protecting children while assisting the siting of much needed mental health / drug rehab services at a more appropriate location? I heartily encourage that they draw inspiration from Representatives Orwall and Gregory example to do the right thing.

  3. Susan White says:

    I would like as well to thank Tina Orwell and Carol Gregory for taking a strong position about moving this facility to a location that does not impact our children at Woodmont Elementary school and near Woodmont Library. Thank you for your leadership and hope others will follow who can make this happen.

  4. Saundra Mock says:

    I would also like to thank our legislatures for doing the right thing; I would like to hear Valley Cities has started searching for a new location!

  5. DMC says:

    Why not put it in an industrial area like Georgetown or the Kent Valley where there are few schools or residential neighborhoods?

  6. RedondoRick says:

    LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION: This has been what it’s always been, location, near a K-8 School and Library. Tina Orwall and Carol Gregory see what so many of the community have seen all along, the location of this recovery center. Their minds have changed because of the scope of this project and the concerns of the community and the way this all transpired. Finally, were all seeing the evil side of Ken Taylor and how he does business. He not only fooled the City of Des Moines, but our state government too! When he first approached the city, he never laid all his cards on the table. It all started with a “HEALTH CLINIC”. As an architect first said in an e-mail, this project has BALLOONED into a full project. The first time the Methadone Clinic was even mentioned, wasn’t until April 2015. This project has been in the works since August 2014. This information on the recovery center, is 9 months passed due. But you can still put blame on your city council for not letting us know. I feel more and more will join Tina and Carol in the next few weeks. Now that the truth about Ken Taylor and his despicable ways of doing business.
    Again, I want to thank Tina Orwall and Carol Gregory for seeing the shadiness of this whole fiasco. The suns a little brighter today, on Des Moines…Rr

  7. Tad Doviak says:

    I got a letter from Representative Linda Kochmar today pledging her support for moving the facility to a different location as well.

  8. Laurette Dominguez-Plaza says:

    So, why not make a land exchange between the Port and the company wanting to build the Clinic? Put the Clinic between the two jails off 200th, and give the current location to the Port?
    Takes care of location. Not near school or library.

    • AB in DM says:

      As if mass-transit wasn’t already problematic, forcing people into close proximity with each other, I’m sure the users of the new Link Light Rail station at 200th & Intl. Blvd. (closest to that location) will LOVE rubbing elbows with drug-addled addicts on a regular basis. One more reason to eschew public transit.

      We are dealing with a symptom right now regarding the location of this drunk-tank. This is merely a band-aid. We MUST start dealing with the root-causes of this pernicious behavior. I call on our representatives to redouble their efforts in this area, to help prevent the burgeoning need for these facilities in the first place.

  9. Des Moines Homeowner says:

    Is anyone even bothered that Valley Cities is using the name of our Woodmont neighborhood for their drug facility and detox center? Why are they tarnishing our name? Humans have a natural instinct of applying negative subject matter through word association. Woodmont will be associated with drugs or as a drug haven if this horrible facility gets built. I find this deplorible along with the fact they are building it next door to an elementary school and a library. Perhaps Valley Cities considers their name choice as rubbing a little salt on the wound??

    • RedondoRick says:

      DMH, That question was mentioned at last nights meeting. Mayor Kaplan said conversations with VC only left that the NAME will not change. I said weeks ago, thank god they didn’t call it Redondo, sorry Woodmont. I wondered when this question would come up?…Rr

  10. Todd says:

    Really! Tina, It was not long ago you took credit for this. If you are so right then where is Senator Karen Keiser and Representative Mia Gregerson? How is that you had to go outside our district and recruit Rep. Carol Gregory on this issue? Are you unable to get the backing of your own party elected officials within our district to stand with you? Senator Karen Keiser and Representative Mia Gregerson, their NO ACTION speaks volumes in support of the clinic and your ability not to get them involved shows your lack of leadership. MY GOD you are all in same Democrat party and cannot get them to step up and support you! Citizens, Yes we need give some credit to Tina, However remember Senator Karen Keiser and Representative Mia Gregerson 100% Missing in Action!

    • RedondoRick says:

      Todd: Mia Gregerson is on board with our wanting a different location. Karen Keiser is out of the country. Will have to wait on her return to see if she has changed her mind. Tina Orwall is doing all she can to seek relocation of this facility along with Carol. Lets wait to comment until the return of Keiser…Rr

  11. AB in DM says:

    I’m sure Representative Mia Gregerson (also the sitting Mayor of Seatac) is just happy it didn’t end up in HER city.

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