There may be trouble for a new mental health facility planned in Junction City. The hospital, set to replace the Oregon State Hospital along with another hospital in Salem in fall 2013, has been put into question due to budget shortfalls. While the hospital would provide around 1,000 new jobs to the Junction City area, which would greatly help the local economy, the operating costs are estimated at around $214 million per biennium, a massive amount of money during a recession. While the facility still has many powerful supporters, including Governor Kulongosky and Senate President Courtney, detractors are worried that the increased operating cost from the new hospital will drain money from Oregon’s community based system of mental health care.
The doubts that have been cast on the facility’s construction comes at a bad time for Junction City’s local economy. In early 2009 Junction City’s booming RV industry took a dive, with several RV makers in Junction City being forced to either cease production temporarily, lay off large amounts of staff or shut down permanently. With many RV manufacturers being forced to choose the third option, the Junction City economy has been needing a large source of jobs that the mental hospital could provide. For house prices to recover in Junction City, the area needs more jobs, in my opinion.