Opponents of a proposed medication-assisted treatment (MAT) facility filled Sequim city council’s meeting on July 8. Leaders with the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe plan to host a forum about the facility to answer questions and dispel rumors on Aug. 8 in Blyn. Sequim Gazette file photo by Matthew Nash

Opponents of a proposed medication-assisted treatment (MAT) facility filled Sequim city council’s meeting on July 8. Leaders with the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe plan to host a forum about the facility to answer questions and dispel rumors on Aug. 8 in Blyn. Sequim Gazette file photo by Matthew Nash

Tribe sets forum for proposed treatment center

Health services director looks to dispel rumors

In an effort to dispel rumors and answer questions on a proposed medication-assisted addiction treatment (MAT) facility in Sequim, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe plans to host a public forum on its plans.

D. Brent Simcosky, director of health services for the tribe, said a forum begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, at the Red Cedar Hall in Blyn.

Simcosky said “many unfounded rumors are circulating both on social media and around town” and they will “address many of those unfounded fears and concerns” at the forum.

Peninsula Daily News reported 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 inpatient psychiatric evaluation and treatment facility with construction tentatively starting in spring 2020 and being complete at the earliest he first quarter of 2021.

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 if it grows depends on the amount of need.

Management for the facility have 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 PDN reported.

Simcosky said OMC CEO Eric Lewis will be in attendance at the 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 will also 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.”

City plans

Update:

City of Sequim announced plans to host a meeting 6 p.m. Monday, July 29, in the Guy Cole Event Center in Carrie Blake Community Park.

Previous story:

Opponents attempted to gain Sequim city councilors’ support about the proposed facility at a heated July 8 city council meeting. However, city staff said no proposal was before them and that speaking about the proposal could potentially be unlawful.

Bush said that city staff intends to hold a separate meeting about it with the project’s partners sometime in July.

As of Monday, July 16, Bush said they plan to attend the tribe’s forum and are evaluating what they might want to do in regards to their own forum.

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. At the July 8 meeting, a few public attendees asked city councilors for their opinions on the project, but city staff advised them not to answer due to legal reasons.

Bush said they anticipate people asking to comment on the project at their July 22 meeting and they’re evaluating how they want to handle it.

City councilor Bob Lake did ask the 100-plus attendees if they supported the facility, and the crowd responded emphatically they were not in favor of the facility.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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