SWEET HOME, Ore. (KOIN) — Community members are outraged with Samaritan Health Services’ plan to convert an assisted living community in Sweet Home into a drug and alcohol treatment center.
Seniors at the 44-bed Wiley Creek Lodge have 60 days to find a new place to live.
“I won’t have anywhere to go,” Wiley Creek resident Viki Whitaker said. “It makes me physically sick to my stomach, the stress.”
The nonprofit announced Wednesday that it plans to turn the assisted living community into a 15-bed residential rehabilitation center.
Residents say they feel blindsided. Some told KOIN 6 News they’re suffering from health complications as a result of the announcement.
“When it’s the only place you have and they’re threatening to take it away from you, it’s not a nice thing,” resident Toni Rowin said. “They feel that addicts are more important than the aging.”
Marty Cahill with Samaritan Health Services says the organization is now considering 2 other possible sites, following outcry from residents and their families,
“This is hard for people to hear, to have to move your home could be difficult,” Cahill said. “We’re now in a holding pattern.”
While it’s not a certainty that the residents will have to move, the organization’s president said it is “an absolute certainty” that the Sweet Home region needs a rehab program.
The nearest programs that address the most serious levels of addiction for a broad population are in Eugene and Salem.
Samaritan Health Services will make its decision by Saturday morning at the latest.
The Associated Press contributed to this report