City, tribe agree to MAT navigator partnership

Councilors approve City Band’s expansion

Leaders with the City of Sequim and the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe entered into a Memorandum of Understanding earlier this month, allowing city staff to begin recruitment for a clinical social services navigator for the tribe’s medication-assisted treatment (MAT) clinic on South Ninth Avenue.

The 16,806-square-foot Jamestown Healing Clinic will tentatively open in the coming months, tribal leaders say, and once open, doctors would dispense daily doses of methadone, Suboxone and Vivitrol for patients with opioid-use disorder while offering wrap-around services such as dental and general health care, behavioral services and child care.

Sequim city councilors unanimously agreed to the contract on Jan. 10, with the tribe agreeing to provide $100,000 annually for three years to the city to conduct services through the Sequim Police Department.

Sequim Police Chief Sheri Crain said at the Jan. 10 city council meeting that it follows a ruling from the city’s then-appointed hearing examiner Phil Olbrechts for an appeal of the project.

She said his findings led to the navigator process.

“(The tribe) provides the funding, and we figure out how to do a navigator,” Crain said.

“(You are) authorizing to accept the money,” she told city councilors, “and go forward with a (Request for Proposals).”

According to the memorandum, a navigator will “connect persons in Sequim to community resources that may be needed to address social, medical, and behavioral health challenges.”

This person will “engage clients, assess and identify client needs, assist and refer clients, and track referrals and services utilized by clients,” the agreement states.

Through their efforts, city and tribal leaders hope the position does the following:

• reduces law enforcement responses involving persons in crisis or dealing with drug addiction who are engaged by the Navigator for services;

• improve behavioral health conditions of persons engaged by the Navigator;

• improve public safety and public order;

• improve connection to appropriate health and social services; and,

• reduces likelihood of criminal justice system involvement by persons engaged by the Navigator

City staff must hire the position no later than March 1. The position will also submit detailed quarterly and annual reports to both entities, including elements such as the number of individuals engaged by the navigator, number who left the facility without completing treatment and the number of individuals requiring transportation to the clinic.

Recruitment continues for a city resident to join a mandated advisory committee that Olbrechts said must “develop a monitoring and evaluation program for the clinic and to develop a contingency plan to identify corrective measures if the clinic causes impacts to public services through increased demands on law enforcement and other emergency services.”

Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict, city councilor William Armacost and Loni Grinnell-Greninger, Jamestown’s Tribal council vice-chair, formed a subcommittee to determine the community seat.

For more information about the clinic, visit jamestownhealingcampus.org.

Swisher Hall OK’d

City councilors also unanimously approved on Jan. 10 the expansion of the James Center for Performing Arts’ practice space, Swisher Hall.

Sequim City Band members previously said the practice hall, built in 2005, could comfortably accommodate about 35 people but they have as many as 70 players now and other groups use the space including the Sequim Community Orchestra and Strings Kids Music Education Program.

Band members report the nearly 2,500-square-foot hall will easily accommodate up to 75 musicians, add another bathroom, improve acoustics, lighting, a heating/ventilation system and keep the band’s music collection and instrument storage in the current space.

​​Architect Steve Zenovic with Zenovic and Associates said the band’s intent is to begin building this summer after submitting a conditional use permit, going to bid and construction tentatively from June to November.

Debbi Soderstrom, the band’s board president, said they plan to fully fund the project at just over $1 million before completing the project with no loans taken out. She said they’ve collected about $919,000 with another $44,000 in uncollected pledges.

City attorney Kristina Nelson-Gross said the city council would not be able to provide city funds towards the project because it would then become a public works project and fall under certain guidelines that could affect received grants, bids and other portions of the project.

Sarah VanAusdle, Sequim’s interim public works director, said once the addition is completed the city would be responsible for maintenance; that would include regular cleaning of its facilities, she said.

VanAusdle added that in her tenure they’ve repainted the bandshell once, so it wouldn’t be required for some time.

Donations to the Sequim City Band, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, for its project can be made at sequim cityband.org under the “Rehearsal Hall Expansion” tab, or mailed to: PO Box 1745, Sequim WA 98382; designate “Rehearsal Hall Expansion” or “Building Fund” to direct a donation specifically to the project.

The James Center for Performing Arts’ Swisher Hall expansion recently received Sequim city council approval and following city procedures and a bidding process, construction could tentatively begin this summer, band officials report. Photo courtesy Sequim City Band

The James Center for Performing Arts’ Swisher Hall expansion recently received Sequim city council approval and following city procedures and a bidding process, construction could tentatively begin this summer, band officials report. Photo courtesy Sequim City Band