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.
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.”
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.