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The times they are a-changing….

Lincoln County HHS moving some offices, services

(NEWPORT, OR) After a review of its facilities, Lincoln County’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the physical relocation of some of its services this month. Offices that have already been relocated or slated for a move in the coming weeks include environmental health, behavioral health, child and family health, and many of the department’s administrative offices.

“I had begun to explore how we might do a better job with the space we have when I learned that our lease on space in the Western Title building would be expiring at the end of April,” HHS Director Jayne Romero said.  “Because of the pandemic, our practice model changed. Now many staff members work using a hybrid arrangement, where they work from the office only a couple of days per week,” she explained. The model’s success met more than just pandemic-related needs. The director said many clients have stated a preference for using virtual platforms to check in with service coordinators and providers.  HHS was already providing services in buildings the county owns on Nye Street and Lee Street and discovered both would be good candidates for space reorganization.

Environmental health will move to the building at 36 SW Nye Street in Newport. They will be joined by many of the department’s administrative offices. Child and family services, as well as the WIC program, will continue to be accessed through that 36 SW Nye Street location. Newport-based adult behavioral health services are provided at 51 SW Lee Street. There are no changes to phone numbers or email addresses for any of the services.

Romero explained that the reorganization of space amounted to good stewardship, considering the increase in rent and the long-term commitment that would have been required to renew the Western Title building lease. In the short term some offices will remain in the building located at 225 SW Coast Highway under a month-by-month agreement with the building owner.  Developmental disability services, located at the basement level, and maternal child and family health, located on the first floor, will eventually be relocated but not at the present time.

Re-configuring other HHS-related spaces is also under consideration, including clinic space currently located in the building at 1010 SW Coast Highway. During the 2019 strategic planning process, a review of the department’s physical environment was identified as a need and incorporated into the HHS Strategic Plan 2020-2024. That work will continue over the coming year.

“Using our space effectively, getting clinic spaces in the right locations, and creating greater efficiencies for the county are at the heart of this process,” Romero said. With HHS utilizing existing county-owned buildings, as well as other leased spaces in both Newport and Lincoln City, the physical reorganization of the county’s largest department is likely to involve more movement in the future. The director offered assurances that clients and the general public will be notified when future changes take place.

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