Former KLEAN facility eyed for new use

KLEAN’s parking lot sits empty on Dec. 2. The drug and alcohol treatment center, which was abandoned last December after going bankrupt, may get a new life as a residential treatment facility. Willapa Behavioral Health hopes to purchase the building by September 2020.

LONG BEACH — The abandoned KLEAN center may soon get a second chance.

Willapa Behavioral Health is planning to purchase the former KLEAN drug and alcohol treatment center, located at 211 Pioneer Avenue West. If the purchase works out, WBH will open a 54-bed residential treatment facility by fall 2020.

“Our commitment is no less than 15 years,” said Adam Marquis, WBH chief executive officer. “This is something that’s going to be a stable aspect to this community. That’s what it needs to be.”

WBH dubbed its purchase plan, “The Last Resort Project.”

“Our goal is to do a one-stop, one-shop,” Marquis said. “It’s not some draconian or really dark message. It’s the fact that we want this to be the last place they have to go.”

WBH recently applied to over $3 million in grants from the Washington State Department of Commerce for the building purchase.

However, Marquis said WBH has budgeted money for the project.

WBH also raised about $2,500 through an online fundraiser at https://bit.ly/2PdiNYn.

The organization will learn in late December whether it’ll be awarded the DOC funds.

In the meantime, WBH is completing feasibility and finance studies to ensure the purchase is do-able.

“The risk tolerance is high but we have to make sure we can mitigate it by these different checkpoints,” Marquis said.

WBH will know by February whether the organization will move forward with the purchase.

“We have competition in this area. This is not about trying to be bigger and better than our competition,” said Salina Mecham, WBH therapist. “This is about us showing up for the fight against substance use and mental health issues… There’s such a need.”

KLEAN versus WBH

KLEAN closed abruptly in December 2018, leaving patients and employees on their own. Long Beach’s KLEAN location was one of many closed along the West Coast after the chain’s owners went bankrupt.

Since KLEAN’s closure, the facility has sat abandoned.

Unlike KLEAN, which focused solely on substance use disorder treatment, the WBH facility would add services for mental health treatment, crisis stabilization and neuroscience.

“For wanting the whole spectrum of care, they’re all such important pieces but standing alone, they’re not nearly as effective as when you put them all together,” Mecham said.

All of the center’s services would be trauma-focused.

“There’s a lot of generational trauma and substance abuse that happens in this community,” said MaryAnne Murray, a WBH nurse practitioner.

WBH also plans on offering services for family and friends of individuals struggling with substance use disorders.

The center would also include a 16-bed detox and withdrawal management wing. Residents would be separated by gender.

“Our eventual goal is to get sober housing stood up so that we can help people step down into that level of care,” Marquis said.

WBH plans to hire at least 25 more employees to staff the center 24/7. The employees will be licensed to handle substance use disorders.

“This organization will be one of the biggest employers in the county,” Marquis said.

Marquis expects the center will serve local residents, and others in Washington state and Oregon. After treatment completion, WBH will transport patients back to their referral sources, Marquis said.

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