LYNNWOOD, Wash. — Some people in Lynnwood are concerned about an opioid treatment facility that could soon open near a Boys and Girls club.
The Lynnwood City Council met to discuss concerns over the treatment facility Tuesday night. Dozens of protestors packed the meeting, saying the location is an issue for the community as it's just feet away from the after-school program.
“I live close to the proposed site within three minutes of walking. I have young kids and we go to the Boys and Girls club next door very often. Public safety for the kids is a top concern and there’s no plan brought out by the state and city to protect the kids,” said Vivil Dong.
Acadia Health, one of the largest treatment centers in the county, is planning to relocate its Bothell facility to Lynnwood after the building was sold. Acadia said it currently has 100 patients within 5 minutes of the site in Lynwood adding there is a need in the area, citing 18% of overdose deaths come from Snohomish County, a need the city doesn’t dispute.
“They’re good but this is just the wrong place for it. If Lynnwood wants one or will have one and I think they should be, I'm thinking along highway 99 in a light industrial area,” said George Hurst, Lynnwood City Council President.
Acadia Health addressed safety concerns and said it hires security guards if needed. KING 5 checked in with Bothell Police to see if there have been any issues at the location there, police said they aren’t often called to the clinic but said they suspect they do not get called for minor offenses so they don’t scare people away who need help.
The other issue: protestors and city council members felt left in the dark. The Department of Health is responsible for licensing the services the facility provides.
Lynnwood City Council said it did not know about the proposed facility until DOH sent an email about a public hearing on Dec. 12. The hearing was scheduled for Dec. 29.
“Many people found out in the middle of their Christmas vacation and held a public hearing on the 29th two days before the new year,” Dong said.
Hurst said Acadia Health applied for a permit with the city in June and the council didn’t know about it but said the healthcare company should have done more outreach.
“They knew they were coming here so why couldn’t they have done some education not only for the council but for the neighborhood so people wouldn’t be freaking out. Whether justified or not people are freaked out,” Hurst said.
Opioid treatment centers are considered essential public facilities. The city council said by state law there’s nothing they can do to stop it.
DOH said it can not make licensing decisions until Acadia has met with the city and the county. The city council said it will send recommendations to the DOH and meet on next steps.
The facility however is scheduled to open at the end of January.