BLYN — The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe will host a public forum on plans for a medication-assisted addiction treatment facility in Sequim on Aug. 8.
Brent Simcosky, director of health services for the tribe, said the forum will begin at 6 p.m. at the tribe’s Red Cedar Hall in Blyn.
Simcosky said “many unfounded rumors are circulating both on social media and around town” about the medication-assisted treatment facility (MAT) and they will “address many of those unfounded fears and concerns” at the forum.
Opponent of the proposed $20 million facility — many of them members of an online group called Sequim Against MAT — gathered at the Sequim City Council meeting July 8. City staff said that no proposal was before them and that speaking about the proposal could potentially be unlawful.
The Sequim City Council plans a special meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, July 29 at the Guy Cole Event Center at Carrie Blake Park, 202 N. Blake Ave., to hear comment on the MAT and to learn more about the city’s role in the permitting process for it.
The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe plans to build a healing center on a portion of 19.5 acres southeast of Costco for the MAT facility and a 16-bed in-patient psychiatric evaluation and treatment facility with construction tentatively starting in spring 2020 and being complete at the earliest the first quarter of 2021.
The tribe had purchased most of the parcel off Ninth Street west of Sequim’s downtown on May 21 for $900,000 with the remaining area of less than 3 acres to be purchased in a transaction that will close in the fall, according to Simcosky.
Tribal officials said the facility will dispense daily doses of methadone, Suboxone and Vivitrol in a 15,000-square-foot building that could grow to about 25,000 square feet.
Simcosky said whether it grows depends on the need.
Facility management has an agreement between the tribe and Olympic Medical Center to operate the psychiatric facility, as well as potential agreements to collaborate with Jefferson Healthcare, Forks Community Hospital and Peninsula Behavioral Health.
The tribe, OMC and Jefferson Healthcare applied for and received $7.2 million for Phase 1 from the state’s capital budget application, and tribal officials plan to seek the remainder of the facility’s funding in the 2020 legislative session.
Simcosky said OMC CEO Eric Lewis will be in attendance at the Aug. 8 forum along with Sequim City Manager Charlie Bush and City Attorney Kristina Nelson-Gross to address process issues.
Clallam County Commissioner Mark Ozias and Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict also will attend “to help dispel some of the rumors regarding increased crime,” he said.
Other dignitaries from neighboring cities and agencies might attend as well.
Simcosky said the tribe has hired a public relations firm to develop handouts and flyers along with a Frequently Asked Questions sheet to address operations for its Healing Campus.
They also plan to create advertisements to promote the forum and “talk about how there will be no busing of homeless people from Seattle, no loitering of patients at our facility, and how Jamestown has stepped forward to lead the way in health care and we intend to provide a local solution to a local problem.”
Bush said that city staff intends to hold a separate meeting about it with the project’s partners sometime in July.
While there is no timeline for an application for the facility, Bush said the tribe clarified for city staff that the application would only include Phase 1, the MAT facility.
By applying with Phase 1 only, Bush said it would have final say for approval through the city’s administration and if appealed, if would go through a hearing examiner.
He said the City Council would not be involved in the appeal process and could engage the public on the topic.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].