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Mon Dec 5, 2016, 03:40 AM

New state hospital in Salem may close

SALEM — Eugene-area residents are uneasy following Gov. Kate Brown’s proposal to permanently close a new, $130 million psychiatric hospital there.

On Thursday, Brown suggested closing the 18-month-old Junction City hospital to help fix a large health care budget hole. The proposal calls for permanently closing the facility in mid-2018, saving the state an estimated $34.5 million a year.

The hospital’s 422 jobs have provided an economic boost to the region since it opened in mid-2015 after years of funding negotiations. Its closure would require approval by state legislators and most of the proposed savings would come from wages and benefits.

“I shudder to think of the impact from an employee standpoint,” said Junction City Administrator Jason Knope on Thursday. “This caught us completely off guard today. I did not have any inkling that this was coming down the pipe.”

Read more: http://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/4869219-151/new-state-hospital-may-close?referrer=bullet7

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