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Neighbors need facts about Cornelius group home

As a citizen of Washington County I am concerned about the media coverage of the Connell House and resulting community response. It is appropriate for all citizens to be concerned when discovering a risk in their neighborhood.

Unfortunately this anxiety has been fanned by the lack of accurate information.

It has been said that additional Psychiatric Security Review Board conditional releases from the Oregon State Hospital (OSH) are due to the, 'pending closure of the hospital.' This is untrue as the hospital is not closing; rather the buildings are being replaced due to years of facility neglect. The hospital itself will remain operational during and after this process.

An accusation that the PSRB has 'commuted' the sentences of those under their jurisdiction is inaccurate given that the board cannot 'commute' sentences. This being said, the question appears to be, why is the board able to release individuals from OSH and into the community?

According to the Oregon Revised Statutes, individuals are to be committed to either OSH or, 'A secure intensive community inpatient facility designated by the Department of Human Services.' These legal statutes define the operation of the PSRB and, as a result, the level of security afforded to the community, a level of security significantly higher than that of the correctional system (i.e. probation).

All of this is to say, the community has a right to express their concerns and ask questions. These questions should be answered with facts rather than opinions or misinformation.

I encourage residents to ask meaningful questions to those directly involved in the PSRB system and to educate themselves with said facts. I am confident that accurate information will enable their sense of security and safety and that many citizens will feel as safe and secure living by these individuals as I do.

Genevieve M. Grady

Forest Grove