SEASIDE — A new clinic that will provide methadone to treat heroin and prescription opioid addiction could open this fall.

CODA, a Portland-based drug treatment provider, is negotiating a lease with Terry Lowenberg for a former real estate office on South Holladay Drive off U.S. Highway 101.

Needle

A methadone clinic is planned for Seaside.

The clinic could treat up to 300 people, said Tim Hartnett, CODA’s executive director. Along with methadone, people could receive other federally approved medication-assisted treatment for drug abuse, such as buprenorphine or naltrexone.

“We help people in the deep end of the pool,” Hartnett said at a City Council meeting Monday night. “We help people who not only have drug and alcohol problems, but are tangled up in poverty, tangled up in the criminal justice system, the child welfare system. We work with a very complicated caseload.”

The Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization, which oversees the Oregon Health Plan in Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook counties, has sought a local methadone treatment option because of the high cost of paying for people to get help in the Portland metro area.

Andy Mendenhall, the chief medical officer at Central City Concern, which works on homeless, poverty and addiction issues in Portland, said there is a lack of treatment in rural areas. Hospitalizations associated with opioid abuse in the three counties are well above the statewide average.

“Part of the opportunity presented by the CODA continuum here in the Seaside community is to provide a hub for patients to receive treatment,” he said.

“I see an opportunity to close the treatment gap, and allow people to get treatment locally, and that’s good for those individuals, their families and the community.”

When the prospect for a methadone clinic on the North Coast surfaced last summer, city leaders in Astoria and Warrenton recognized the need but were cool to the idea of a location in their cities.

The new clinic in Seaside does not need approval from the City Council, Mayor Jay Barber said.

City Councilor Dana Phillips said she is “proud of CODA” and the work they do. The provider has 40 years of experience in treating opioid abuse.

But some in the city are concerned the clinic might be unwelcome and add to public safety needs.

Brian Owen, the executive director of the Seaside Chamber of Commerce, said he anticipated “a lot of questions and misstatements and information that is not read completely through” from people in the community.

Fire Chief Joey Daniels asked if the clinic will lead to an increase in call loads. “We’re already limited in capabilities with our resource and any call is a taxing call already,” he said.

Seaside Police Lt. Bruce Holt called CODA’s plan “intriguing,” but sought more information on how law enforcement would work with the clinic “to get help for people we come across.”

Hartnett said emergency calls from the clinic would be more than offset by fewer drug overdoses and other drug-related emergencies.

R.J. Marx is editor of the Seaside Signal and Cannon Beach Gazette, and covers South County for The Daily Astorian. Reach him at 971-320-4557 or rmarx@seasidesignal.com.

(7) comments

Ted Mittelstaedt

I own an IT consulting business. CODA has been a client of mine since 1998. My wife and I also own a home in Seaside and one in Portland and we split our time between them.
I cannot speak for other methadone clinics but I will say this, the people in CODA are good people and are my friends as well as my customers. While I am not a clinician I just help to maintain the computer network, I have never seen groups of drug addicts hanging around outside of any of CODAs facilities and I have been in and out of every one of their facilities many times over the years. Most people would not know that any CODA facility is a methadone clinic if they went by them they look like ordinary offices from the outside.
It is important to keep in mind that CODA's clients are people who are TRYING to get their lives together. They are the addicts and former addicts that we DON'T need to worry about. The addicts who are NOT in treatment are the ones that we need to worry about and they are NOT anywhere near any sort of facility that is trying to get them off drugs.
If you live in Seaside and aren't familiar with the problems in Portland you are very lucky. Every single evening I have to take EVERYTHING out of my car that looks the least bit valuable when I park in front of my Portland house or addicts will break the car window to steal things out of my car. Despite the fact that I deliberately leave the car UNLOCKED. Some popular bicycle trails in Portland are unsafe and the police have to regularly clean them out. (such as the Springwater) People are regularly accosted on them. A few years ago I parked in front of a client downtown and literally walked inside for 5 minutes and when I came out my passenger car window was broken and the laptop there was stolen. A laptop that was BROKEN and I was actually taking to the electronic recyclers!!! The joke in Portland is that if you use a brown paper bag to clean up after your dog and you set the (full) bag down the thieves will steal it. The property theft is unreal. They even steal those ugly concrete yard gnomes people put in their garden.
It is a very wise thing for Seaside to try to get in front of this problem before it damages livability. The last thing you want to do is ignore the problem and have it come out here, too. One city in the state like this is bad enough. Let's not make it two.

Spance Morgenstern

I lived in Central Chicago (near W Side) for a decade, near a methadone clinic. My experience is these facilities do NOT represent some sort of oasis or "hope center" for the addict looking to end the cycle. Rather the facility became a loitering point for dope sick addicts.

To the mayor and city council, with no oversight in the matter, plan on additional law enforcement additional EMS and even MORE Medix vehicles flying through town.

Now serious question for our town council. Do I need to get special permission to have a chicken or pygmy goat for a pet?

Go figure...

SpanceM

Spance Morgenstern

My post has no comment as to he quality or integrity of the clinical or administration skill of the program.

My point is, the ability of the organization to monitor and manage their patients begins and ends AT THEIR DOOR. The methadone clinic I lived near in Chicago presented a much broader negative impact on the local neighborhood, off sight. Yes Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. Drug addicts in Chicago present the same as drug addicts in Portland and the same as drug addicts on the North Coast. Expect changes, likely negative, to your neighborhood.

It's that simple. Odd behavior. Increased nuisance, street loitering, unwanted interactions, medical emergencies, "nodding".

Whether that is good or bad should be left to the neighbors. The comments from a guy in Portland that sends an invoice every month to his client CODA? Not so much.

We will see. Listen to the neighbors.

Peace

Spance

Ted Mittelstaedt

I stated CODA is a customer and that I'm a property owner in Seaside in the interest of full disclosure of my biases, because I happen to find that disclosing biases like, say for example, someone happens to owe a lot of money to Russian bankers, makes them a LOT more credible than attempting to, say, hide their tax returns....

But you don't have to believe me. Anyone can just drive to Portland and drive past CODA's locations and see if you can find any street loitering or objectionable behavior by their patients. Their locations are on their website it's not like they are hiding anything.

I also believe you are also incorrect that the ability of an organization to manage patients begins and ends at their door. CODA controls whether someone is getting treatment or not. If a patient causes problems CODA has the threat of expulsion and they can require the patient to not loiter outside as a condition of staying in the program. I don't know if they indeed do this but they certainly have the ability to do it. Perhaps it might be good to ask CODA to require their Seaside patients to follow a reasonable list of rules prohibiting the behavior you describe as objectionable?

It is clearly obvious that Seaside has drug addicts otherwise there would be no patients for CODA, that is why they are wanting to site in the city in the first place. If CODA or any other clinic does not go into the city, those addicts will still be there. It's not like addicts in Portland are going to move out to Seaside just because they are opening a clinic there. I have seen first hand what happens when a city like Portland pretends that there is not an addiction problem - the Homeless in the city of Portland have high addiction rates, everyone knows it, but if you try to mention that fact to anyone in Portland city government they will tar and feather you and ride you out of town on a rail. (along with probably now insisting you are racist) This policy of pretending addicts don't exist merely creates lots more of them and then they steal everything not nailed down to feed their addiction. If Seaside wants to head that direction well you have a perfect roadmap to do it just look East 60 miles...

Christina Buck

And right on schedule the NIMBYs come out. Like a cop isn't 100% biased against people who have substance abuse problems and need help.

You can always tell who is who on the internet comments section when the comment is riddled with misspellings, incorrect grammar, and is all about how the people who need help in our society are all lazy takers, the politicians all enablers, and the people who work hard are all victimized by society.

There are many reasons to question methadone as a long term treatment for opioid addiction. Is it the best option to helping addicts? Does it cause other health problems? Are there better ways to help people who need help?

We as a society have become all about only caring about ourselves and vilifying every single human being who is different, vulnerable, in need of assistance, or is any way not living their life exactly as WE are. It is time for us to either admit what we are - an uncaring, uncivilized, violent, hateful, self-absorbed, destructive society devoid of humanity or CHANGE and actually do things to help our fellow human beings.

The pharmaceutical companies, especially the one that created Oxycontin, is responsible for the national opioid epidemic. How about we vilify them? How about we hold them responsible for the lives lost and destroyed and the fact that society now has to clean up and pay for their mess?

It is easy to vilify those who are powerless. It is easy to demonize the poor, the vulnerable, the sick, the disabled, the homeless, the addicted, the mentally ill, and even children because they all have no voice and no ability to fight those in this society with money and power who seek to harm them in every way possible. I, personally, want to live in a different world, where those who have power and wealth use that power and wealth to help the most vulnerable, not harm them further.

amber cowan

[thumbup]
Thank you

Jack Kram

I am a retired police officer, and just an FYI methadone clinics attract crime and gross disgusting activity. I have never see one yet that did not have problems, and on top of that it just makes people more lazy. But what can you say the we are in Pacific Northwest a place where the polititicians like lazy, free hand outs more rights to criminals and illegals, and if you like welfare , and you have a substannce problems you live a like a kings and never have to worry about quiting because they will give you free stuff. Oregon and Washington think that if you work hard and have lots of money your evil and they want to tax it all away from you to give to the lazy, and to fund thier state programs because they leaders are to lazy to budget right.

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