The psychiatric hospital best known as the site for the filming of the 1975 movie "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" (and based on the Ken Keasey novel of the same name) will soon be reopened for patients.. First built in 1883 as the Oregon State Insane Asylum, the Oregon State Hospital is the principal psychiatric hospital in the state of Oregon. Located in Salem, Oregon, the 627-bed facility was primarily intended to house forensic psychiatric patients who had either been found unfit to stand trial or transferred to the hospital from this prison system. The hospital has long has been the subject of controversy due to the history of abuses occuring at the hospital during its long tenure, the warehousing of the cremated remains of over 3600 psychiatric patients, and substandard care. After separate assessments in 1988 and 2005 declared the much of the hospital was unsafe and in need of demolition, most of the hospital was closed (including the adolescent treatment unit) although adult psychiatric treatment services continued to be offered.
In 2008, the hospital became the subject of a scathing Department of Justice report condemning patient conditions and lack of proper treatment programming. The report was especially critical of the dilapidated state of the hospital buildings (including peeling paint, asbestos, and leaking roofs) as well as hospital policies deemed to be abusive (such as use of isolation for dealing with problem patients)'s. Following publication of the report, the Oregon state legislature called for the hospital's demolition and replacement with a more modern facility. Despite active opposition by the Salem mayor and city council who called for the hospital's closure, the revamped facility will remain at its present location. Although many of the wards best known from the movie have since been closed, part of the older hospital structure is scheduled to be converted into a mental health museum which will contain many of the 19th century artifacts unearthed during the reconstruction.
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".
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