Benton County Crisis Center Planning and Design Gets Underway

View from across the street of a former auto shop, located at 240 NW 4th Street in Corvallis, where the new Crisis Center will be built. Construction fencing surrounds the permiter with construction equipment in the background and two men wearing orange shirts and hard hats are riding a forklift and working.
Friday, October 14, 2022

The Benton County Crisis Center will be a new facility that seeks to provide a safe and supportive space for all who enter. An expansion of Benton County Health Department’s existing crisis services, the Benton County Crisis Center will offer walk-in mental health crisis services 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. Once operational, the facility will serve all ages, regardless of ability to pay, with no appointment needed. The new facility will be located at 240 NW 4th Street in downtown Corvallis. Planning is underway, and a project construction timeline is currently being developed. Gerding Builders was selected as the contractor for this project, and demolition and preparation of the site are beginning this week.

The crisis center will serve as a low-barrier, open-door resource to all community members experiencing a broad spectrum of mental health crisis needs. It will be designed for anyone who needs a break from stressors to be connected to services and support and will have a “no-wrong-door” approach to support individuals who are having mental health crises for any number of reasons. While not a medical facility, it will fill an important gap in the continuum of care that offers a safe and supportive space for voluntary stabilization to adults who are assessed to need short-term stabilization but do not require the medical capabilities of an acute care hospital or longer-term residential care. 

Benton County Behavioral Health has formed a design committee to help inform the design process by providing a crystal clear understanding of the unique needs of Benton County residents and what can be accomplished with the new crisis center. The committee consists of health department staff and mental health professionals as well as community partners and stakeholders, including representatives from Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, Intercommunity Health Network Coordinated Care Organization, Pathfinder Clubhouse, Corvallis Daytime Drop-In Center, Strengthening Rural Families, and Oregon State University Counseling & Psychological Services.

“We wanted to be sure to have partners at the table whom our crisis team interact with regularly that understand the needs of our community,” said Project Manager Ricky Garcia. “We are incredibly happy with the variety and depth of knowledge of this group.”

Members of the committee helped to select Portland-based Mahlum Architects as the design firm for the project, based on their experience in designing trauma-informed spaces, commitment to empowering communities through design, and dedication to engaging stakeholders in the design process. 

In the design planning process, the architect team presents concepts to the design committee members who ask questions, provide insight, and help refine the vision for the final design. The committee recently participated in a journey-mapping exercise that put them in the shoes of someone seeking crisis services to guide the process and flow of services once the center is up and running. Another activity, called visual listening, gave the committee an opportunity to authentically react to different designs, in order to help define the look and feel of the building.

In addition to the design committee, Benton County Behavioral Health is researching and visiting existing crisis stabilization programs throughout Oregon to help determine the program design and flow of services that will best meet the needs of Benton County. 

“We are working to put into practice the most successful parts of existing programs in order to build the best possible outcome for the Benton County Crisis Center,” said Ricky Garcia, Project Manager. 

The crisis center is a project of Benton County’s Justice System Improvement Program (JSIP), a multi-year effort to improve outcomes in our communities. Addressing mental health needs is a primary focus of JSIP’s vision for enhanced County programs and facilities. 

People can learn more about the Benton County Crisis Center and Benton County’s current mental health crisis services by visiting bit.ly/BentonCountyCrisisCenter or by emailing healthdeptcommunications@co.benton.or.us.

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 call Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or email pioinfo@co.benton.or.us.