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Former Measure 110 organization fails to return $1 million to Oregon by deadline


Former Measure 110 organization fails to return $1 million to Oregon by deadline

Oct 04, 2023 | 7:53 pm ET
By Ben Botkin
Former Measure 110 organization fails to return $1 million to Oregon by deadline
Oregon Health Authority officials want to recover more than $1 million the state awarded a Klamath Falls organization to help people with drug addictions. (Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)

The Oregon Health Authority has failed to recoup more than $1 million of Measure 110 grant money – nearly five months after the state terminated its contract with a Klamath Falls provider over mismanagement of funds.

In May, the authority’s Measure 110 oversight committee ended its grant agreement with the organization, Red is the Road to Wellness, over misused money. This marked the first time the state had canceled a contract tied to Measure 110, which decriminalized possession of small amounts of hard drugs and put a share of cannabis revenue toward addiction treatment and programs. Since voters passed the measure in 2020, the state has put more than $260 million into 233 programs, including this one.

In August 2022, the authority awarded the organization a $1.55 million contract to help people access housing, outpatient addiction treatment and vocational training. The agency gave the provider $1.08 million, records show.

But it received complaints that the organization had misspent money, including failing to help people in recovery find jobs. The organization also failed to submit expenditure reports in December 2022 and March, the health authority said.

Health authority officials demanded that Red is the Road to Wellness refund the money by Oct. 2. That deadline has passed and the organization has not paid the money back, said Tim Heider, a spokesman for the Oregon Health Authority.

Heider said the health authority is working with the Oregon Department of Justice’s Civil Enforcement Division to “determine next steps for recovering the funds owed.”  Heider had no other details, nor did a spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Justice on the state’s options.

Jennifer Davie, executive director for Red is the Road to Wellness, declined to comment to the Capital Chronicle about the issue. 

In September, the health authority’s oversight committee terminated two other Measure 110 grant agreements, one with a Multnomah County provider and another in Malheur County, after receiving complaints about mismanagement. 

Those grants totaled $1.2 million. Bright Transitions in Portland received $717,000 to run a home for people with addictions. Origins Faith Community, an Ontario-based church, received $513,460 to provide counselors at a meal service.

In both cases, health authority officials still are determining how much money they owe.