National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Groundbreaking is tentatively set for early July for the first part of phase one of Villebois, the new urban village planned near Wilsonville on the site of the former Dammasch State Mental Hospital. Housing for persons with mental illness is set for the second part of phase one.

We will soon see the vision of Costa Pacific Housing Development planners and a dream come true for those who will be "at home" in Villebois, the village in the wood. This is just the beginning of what is and will become, a national model of integrated housing in a beautiful urban village of over 2300 home sites with a strong commitment to natural spaces and the environment.

NAMI Clackamas has much to be proud of for its involvement with this fantastic development in our county. In 1999, two NAMI members, Harold Kulm and Richard Reilly together with Representatives Jane Lokan and Jerry Krummel introduced a bill proposing that when the Dammasch property was sold, the proceeds would create a Housing Trust Fund (minus the cost of the sale and a portion set aside for state hospital upgrades). The interest from the monies in the Trust Fund would be used to develop housing around the state for persons with mental illness and also set some of the acreage aside for this specialized housing .

With the successful passage of the bill in 1999, a committee was formed composed of representatives from the State, Clackamas county Mental Health, Wilsonville transportation and planning departments, housing specialists and NAMI members, Doris Minard and Richard Reilly. After meeting for the last few years at the old Dammasch property site, the committee, along with members of the Costa Pacific Development team, have tackled such topics as types of housing, location of housing, home ownership, site developers, providers of services.

Working with Wilsonville officials on site placement, environmental concerns, and open space requirements has added a unique blend to the mix of decisions and debates. Now, we see the future becoming the present as a special dedication of the property was recently held on the site with a number of dignitaries present, including Congresswoman Darlene Hooley, State Representative Jerry Krummel, Harold Kulm and Doris Minard.

by Doris Minard, Past-President, NAMI-Oregon