No Woodmont drug treatment facility for Des Moines; facility will be in Kent

by Jack Mayne

The drug and alcohol treatment facility slated for Des Moines’ Woodmont neighborhood will be moved to downtown Kent, Valley Cities said in a news release Thursday morning.

“The Recovery Centers of King County building (in Kent) will offer partial services originally slated for the Woodmont Recovery Center in Des Moines,” said Valley Cities in a statement that added it acquired a former Recovery Centers of King County building at 505 Washington Avenue South in downtown Kent.

However, the Des Moines Woodmont site is still under consideration by Valley Cities for outpatient behavioral health counseling, primary medical and dental care, and agency administration offices.

The Des Moines conditional use permit for the site remains valid for five years.

Kaplan lauds cooperation
Mayor Dave Kaplan said Des Moines appreciates “the folks at Valley Cities being cooperative and listening to the concerns of the community.”

“There is no question that these services are necessary to get people the help they need to reclaim their lives,” Kaplan said. “The Kent facility only scratches the surface of the need for available mental health treatment and care facilities not only here in South King County but across the State of Washington.”

Valley Cities said it paid $1 million and will operate mental health evaluation and treatment services out of the Kent facility, with 32 beds available.

“The facility will provide a portion of the essential mental health and substance abuse treatment programs that were slated to be at Woodmont Recovery Center in Des Moines,” Valley Cities’ said.

“Plans for the comprehensive campus have been postponed.”

Resident’s outcry caused move
The Valley Cities statement said the agency had “agreed to work with city, county and state officials to research alternate sites following a public outcry in the Des Moines community regarding the proximity to an elementary school and library.”

“We listened to the community’s concerns about the Woodmont site and explored other options,” said Ken Taylor, chief executive officer for Valley Cities.

“We know that we’re good neighbors and have a positive impact on the communities we serve. But unfortunately, that’s not enough to overcome the stigma facing our clients. We were lucky to find something that will meet some of the specific needs of people living with mental illness, but this is a very partial solution.”

The Des Moines’ Woodmont Recovery Center plans had included an evaluation and treatment facility, a secure detoxification unit, a Recovery Café and an outpatient services building. This integrated system of care would have provided fewer barriers to a person seeking help for mental health and substance use issues as well as primary care.

More beds in Kent
Taylor said the new Kent site is “ideally located in close proximity to the Valley Cities offices in downtown Kent that houses the agency’s administrative offices and provides outpatient counseling services. Valley Cities is proud to have served the people of Kent for almost 50 years and looks forward to continuing a cooperative relationship with the Kent community for many years to come.”

The Kent site only recently became available and, but, with only 13,481 square feet, is not big enough for Valley Cities’ full “campus” design that would place all components of mental health and substance abuse treatment and recovery in close proximity.

Taylor said King County has only 201 involuntary treatment beds and that people from South King County must travel long distances to access services in downtown Seattle, Kirkland, or Burien.

The Kent facility, located at 505 Washington Avenue South, is within easy access to Interstate 5 and located in the South King County area.

Valley Cities said it previously operated as the Recovery Centers of King County. Services in the Kent building provided intensive inpatient detoxification services for low-income individuals for more than 32 years but ceased operations earlier in 2015 due to lack of funding.

The facility has the proper permitting and zoning to operate as a mental health treatment facility but requires an estimated $7 million in improvements to meet the state’s licensure and certification requirements.

Working with legislators
Valley Cities said it is currently working with the State of Washington, notably, Washington House Speaker Frank Chopp, Sen. Karen Keiser, and State Rep. Tina Orwall on an approval to move the $5 million awarded for Woodmont improvements to finance updates to the Kent facility.

“We will continue to work together to address the stigma against people with mental illness or substance abuse problems so that community based treatment will be accessible to all communities,” said Keiser.

Improvements to the Kent facility will start early January 2016 with plans for the site to be operational by the end of the year.

Read our extensive previous coverage of this issue here.


26 Responses to “No Woodmont drug treatment facility for Des Moines; facility will be in Kent”
  1. Kristy says:

    This sight makes more sense; it is in close (walking) proximity to DSHS. The community in that area is accustomed to and welcomes the population that is in need.

  2. DMC says:

    Kent has become a dump. This place will fit right in there.

  3. Mulisha Mushterd says:

    WOW! The Kooky Kaplan Klan dodged a bullet (actually a Howitzer round) on this one.
    Nobody should forget the lessons they taught us about their pathetic fecklessness anytime soon.

    Neighbors in Woodmont and Redondo, please remember how you felt about this monstrosity moving into your neighborhood along with its disastrous effects, and consider how the rest of us in the city feel about the high crime rates we deal with every day. Support endeavors to reduce crime ACROSS our city, starting with our policy-makers.

  4. John Castronover says:

    Outstanding everyone, Proof that a United Community can right a wrong.
    Dave Kaplan, City Manager Tony Piaseski our city will long remember what you two tried to get away with, Shame on you both.

  5. Martin Metz says:

    Sounds like a win for all parties. Our children are protected. Citizens learned an invaluable lesson about taking control of their politicians. A better fit for Valley Cities occurs. South King County gets much needed treatment capabilities for folks who need it. The city needs to ensure they keep listening even better in the future. More input and involvement has led to a great outcome.

  6. RedondoRick says:

    “A WRONG DONE RIGHT” I first must thank the community’s of Woodmont, Redondo, & Des Moines, for their support in backing us in our venture in seeing that this Recovery Campus not be built in the middle of a neighborhood! We (C. A. N. – Community Action Network) all believed that this just wasn’t the proper location for such a facility. Thanks to, Carol Gregory, Tina Orwall, Dave Upthegrove, Frank Chopp, and Karen Kaiser, for their dedication in helping move this facility. We all realize, that the need for such facility’s is needed. But we must use common sense when entertaining such a controversial element into our neighborhoods. And last, I would like to thank our City Council for their recent work in moving this campus. And to Ken Taylor, thank you for making a wrong, a right…Rr

  7. Lynn Melton says:

    Thank God!!!!
    This center would have ruined our neighborhood and flooded our streets with junkies,crime…etc. I have had 4 incidents at my new townhouse in Woodmont that backs up to the Health Point clinic related to drug use in the last 2 years since first moving here. This area is already going down hill quick and we need to work to reverse this not to escalate the rapid decline I have seen in the area over the last 10 years. Drug use is an epidemic in this area and the city proposes to put a Methadone clinic in the middle of a neighborhood by an elementary school? We need new officials who have common sense. This should have never been considered to begin with!!!! We as citizens and tax payers deserve better.

  8. Kevin Jordan says:

    To those gloating over this decision may I remind you that you just did yourself a disservice. Take a visit to your coveted WoodMont library and admire all the meth users there sleeping and co-mingling with your children. I am a drug and alcohol counselor and in my experience most families have someone with a drug or alcohol problem. So kudos Des Moines, hard to believe I lived in your city for 7 years.

    • Lynn Melton says:

      The question should be why are these drug addicts allowed to park their R/V’s at the library to begin with? They should be arrested!!! Instead of enabling them we should make them do community service when they are arrested and stop their social security checks. We have made it too easy in this country as a whole to live off of the system. The more we cater to people like this the worse it will become. I know individuals who have been through 10 and up treatment programs and they still continue to use drugs and live off of the system. Until their life gets so hard they can not deal with it anymore, they will not change.
      Our beautiful country is heading in the wrong direction. No common sense and socialism is taking over. This is the by product of bad decisions amongst public officials over the last 20 years.

    • Petunia Flowers says:

      Happy your gone !!!

  9. 4itnotagainstit says:

    I think it’s a shame that due to some of your opinions stating it will bring crime ,harm, and incidents to your neighborhood.l, is totally false. It’s not where you n live it’s how you live and we all have or no someone that needs help no matter what kind of help it is but unfortunately due to the selfishness of some of us, the help which is well needed especially in Des Moines/Kent area, Woodmont area, is needed and in a big way. What’s even crazy is that the very same people criticizing and opposing this plan of treatment are the same people who need it or once needed it. God is the final judge not you. I pray for you all

  10. Fed up says:

    So glad that Valley Cities found a home for these much needed services in South King County. I just hope that the City of Des Moines will now refund the over 150K they have already spent on permitting and design for the Woodmont Facility. A good location that I wish would have worked to prove all the NIMBYs wrong. Des Moines is a sad sad place with sad sad people.

  11. Mulisha Mushterd says:

    What an odd remark to make Fed up (refund permitting fees). You must have had a dog in the fight ($) and explains all of your previous remarks.

    Proud to be a sad, sad NIMBY from Des Moines


  12. Pappy says:

    So no Woodmont this is good.
    What about “Secrets” on Pac Hwy? It is now transitioning to a private sex club. There’s already all kinds of illegal drugs and activities that go on there. Weekends are essentially wild sex parties, in their theaters. They advertise online about these.
    Or Airport Video? Neighbors at Bartells are horrified when they see the things left around the parking lots after the weekends.
    Prostitutes work both places, outside on the streets, especially on the weekends.
    When is Des Moines going to regulate them?
    This needs to stop. There is no need for these places in our city, we want to up lift Des Moines not allow it to slide down.

  13. Petunia Flowers says:

    It is NOT false that those kinds of facilities bring crime, harm to a community. Look at Auburn, White Center, Rainier Valley. It’s all about exactly WHERE you live ! That’s why we didn’t want it here. I have never done drugs & still don’t want it in my community ! Speak for yourself. The hard working tax paying home owners of this community deal with enough garbage as it is. Oh, sorry, you sound like a “renter”. If we are sad sad people….then leave us alone and get out of our community. Go live in the above areas I mentioned. They welcome….hmmmm….”renters” !

  14. Fed up says:

    Renters are tax payers too. You don’t think that the property owners pass on those taxes to the renters? Renters are part of this community even if you don’t want to accept it. Young, creative, energetic individuals WITH MONEY are choosing to rent these days and you are ultimately ignoring their contribution to the community when you should be begging them to live in Des Moines. Or perhaps you would prefer another ten thousand seniors on a fixed income who can’t spend any money in the dead downtown?

    You should open your eyes a little and see the world for what is actually is instead of what is inside your little bubble.

  15. Petunia Flowers says:

    Renters don’t pay PROPERTY tax’s which is what runs this town and pays the salaries of corrupt council members and police/fire. I would NEVER beg anyone to live in Des Moines ! and yes, it’s dead.

    The glory days of this town are done. Downtown is dead because it costs to much to run a business here. Senior citizens have earned their right to do whatever they want to. They have already worked for a living. How about you ?

    Yes there are many young creative people in this community. With money ? I doubt that.
    They rent because they don’t have the money to own. Or are college students who are not going to stay anyhow. Why would a person want to rent when a mortgage is much less and an investment ? Maybe YOU should look beyond your bubble. Real Estate knowledge you have not.

  16. John Riley says:

    Would this facility be a taxable entity? If so we just lost some tax dollars for the city coffers. The location was bad and needed to be relocated in the greenbelt that is currently being developed off of 219th, not run out of the city. This city will be like Normandy Park if we do not do something to bring in more taxable businesses.

    Quit being down on any idea and instead work to bring in more businesses. We have a lot of open store fronts in Des Moines.

  17. Petunia Flowers says:

    Those vacant store fronts are caused by the high taxes of rental space and the b.s city council. They go out of their way to make it hard. Many business owners that were here last year are now in Burien and Federal Way and doing very well. Des Moines… sister city to Rat city !!!

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