Mid-Columbia Center for Living celebrated its new facility, located at 1060 Webber Street in The Dalles on Sept. 20 with dedication ceremonies, cookies, and tours.
Scott Hege, chair of the MCCFL board and a Wasco County commissioner, said that instead of working out of four facilities in The Dalles, the agency is now consolidated under one roof. ‘This is a new, clean, efficient and healthy building. We now have a space worthy of our clients and our employees.’
Hege said years of planning went into the project, and the decision to proceed wasn’t easy. ‘The decision to move forward was a very hard decision to make’ he said, noting that costs were higher than anticipated and the agency relied heavily on federal funding distributed by the state. ‘Sometimes funding can get turned off, turned back on’ he explained.
A $2 million block grant was obtained through Wasco County, which owns the building. ‘We know it will enhance and help our community’ Hege said. ‘We didn’t want to do it, but we had to do it.’ Total cost of the new facility was $8 million. Hege also thanked the MCCFL staff for their patience over many years. It did take a long time, and that was not easy’ he said.
Daniel Sibila of Griffin Construction oversaw the project locally and said it was a tough job. We had to bid on this job twice, and there were a lot of hurdles, including bad soil, heat, and 18 inches of snow. He said the building turned out well. I am proud of how we did.
Al Barton, interim director of MCCFL, also unveiled a plaque in honor of the late Dr. James ‘Jim’ MacMillan, now displayed in the lobby of the new building. The plaque reads that MacMillan ‘dedicated 30 years of his life to improving the lives of countless individuals. He believed in the inherent worth of each person and inspired others to find their true potential. Jim enriched the communities he served through his advocacy and love for music and the arts. He was a mentor to the staff of Mid-Columbia Center for Living and will always be remembered for his professional integrity, humanity and passion for learning.’ His wife, Debbie Bobbs, was present for the unveiling, as was former MCCFL executive director Romona Ropk.
MCCFL is the designated behavioral health agency for Hood River, Sherman, and Wasco counties. It provides services through a variety of programs funded by the state, local government, grants, and third-party resources. The agency is governed by a Tri-County Board comprised of one commissioner from each county served.