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Benton County Crisis Center a personal passion for an Oregon Senator

Man speaking to two men in law enforcement uniforms in front of a sign that says "At your service every day."
Senator Ron Wyden speaks to local law enforcement personnel.

“This is deeply personal for the Wyden household,” said Oregon Senator Ron Wyden as he toured the site of the upcoming Benton County Crisis Center in downtown Corvallis.

Wyden, along with Benton County Commissioners Nancy Wyse, Pat Malone, and Xan Augerot, toured the building site at the corner of 4th Street and Van Buren Blvd. in downtown Corvallis. The center will offer walk-in mental health services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will be a therapeutic place for those in need to stabilize from a mental health crisis from a few hours up to 29 days.

Senator Wyden, along with U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio, helped secure $1 million dollars in congressional funding for the center. During the tour, Wyden said his own brother’s mental health issues spurred him to support this and other services to help those in mental health crises.

“This is something that I am very much committed to tackling personally,” Wyden said.

“We know that we’ve got a lot to do, and this million dollars here at the respite center is dollar for dollar going to be one very, very smart investment because this gives us a chance to do more in the community.”

Man wearing glasses and a suit stands under a canopy next to three others on a rainy day and gestures to an architectural drawing on an easel.
Staff from Mahlum Architects & Gerding Builders present a journey-map for the new facility.

“This is deeply personal for the Wyden household.”

senator ron wyden

The crisis center is a project of Benton County’s Justice System Improvement Program, a multi-year project based on a comprehensive assessment completed in 2018. Addressing mental health needs is a primary focus of the program. This project has received a total of $7.7 million in state and federal funding and additional funds for expanded crisis center services are planned to be included in a proposed bond measure expected to go before voters in May of 2023.

Prior to the tour, Mahlum Architects and Gerding Builders presented a journey-map demonstrating that the design of the facility is based on client needs. The space will be safe, trauma-informed, accessible, welcoming, and meets the unique needs of Benton County residents.

“…crisis counselors available day or night…it’s big!”

Ricky garcia, crisis center project manager

The project design is a collaboration between many public and private organizations including:

  • Benton County Health Department
  • Benton County Public Works
  • Mahlum Architects
  • Gerding Builders
  • Samaritan Health Services
  • InterCommunity Health Network
  • Pathfinder Clubhouse
  • Corvallis Daytime Drop-in Center
  • Strengthening Rural Families
  • Oregon State University

The center will help relieve burdens on Benton County law enforcement as well as Samaritan Health Services.

“Every community is unique, and it takes local leaders and community stakeholders working together to develop something that’s really going to meet the needs of that community,” said Doug Boysen, CEO of Samaritan Health Services. “This was identified as one of our highest needs. So, our community spoke that this was something that was needed.”

A wet and empty lot surrounded by a construction fence on a rainy day with dark grey clouds in the sky. A sign on the fence says "Danger, Construction Area, Keep Out."
Empty lot on the corner of 4th and Buren Streets in Corvallis, Oregon that will be the new site of the crisis center.

“…our community spoke…this was something that was needed.”

Doug boysen, ceo, samAritan health services

The center will help keep individuals from needing to use higher levels of care including the acute psychiatric inpatient unit at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. It could also help prevent individuals in need of treatment from facing incarceration at the Benton County Jail by providing a voluntary, treatment-centered approach. Representatives of the County’s law enforcement community attended the tour to show their support.

The center will offer services such as:

  • Crisis assessments and case management
  • Short-term therapy and skills training
  • Connection to treatment services and social services
  • Engagement with primary care providers

“With this new facility, our aim is to provide improved access to mental health crisis services by operating the crisis center 24/7, 365 days a year,” said Ricky Garcia, from Benton County Health. “This means crisis counselors available to help and support individuals in need day or night, rain or shine. It’s big!”

For more information about the Benton County Crisis Center, please email


Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please contact Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or

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