A while ago in a blogpost about a virtual reality program to reduce anxiety for first time patients going to be admitted to a psychiatric ward I used a recent picture of the Oregon State Hospital. More exactly of the J Building, built in 1883. The largest, oldest, and most famous structure within this institution. The building served as the location for virtually all interior movie scenes of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
The Oregon State Government wanted to demolish the J Building in 1988 due to life-threatening health and safety dangers posed to patients and staff. There is an abundance of lead-based paint and asbestos throughout the building. Presently, the J Building is on the brink of collapse and mostly abandoned. Patients continue to be held in remodeled portions, but many believe that a minor earthquake could send the dilapidated structure and patients to their demise.
In the hospital rededication ceremony on November 19, 2010, state officials announced that the planned opening of the first phase of the facility has been delayed due to conflicts over staffing. The new hospital will eventually contain over 600 psychiatric hospital beds and will become fully operational by late next year. While concerns have been raised about the continuing underfunding of community-based mental health programming, Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski and other officials at the ceremony stress that much more work needs to be done to ensure that the hospital remains “a place of healing, dignity and respect with patients actively directing their own treatment”.