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News & Views - July, 2001 Issue #83

Oregon Legislation On
Wilderness Treatment Programs

By Rob Cooley
Catherine Freer Wilderness Expeditions
Albany, Oregon

House Bill 3330, authorizing regulation of wilderness treatment programs in the State of Oregon, unanimously passed the Oregon House on June 30 and the Senate on July 3, also unanimously. Assuming the governor signs the bill, he will appoint an advisory board of industry and public representatives to work with Oregonís Services to Children and Family (SCF) agency to develop regulations for wilderness treatment. Existing programs must apply by January 1, 2002, and be licensed by SCF by March 1, 2002, in order to continue operating in Oregon.

This bill was developed by Representatives Ben Westlund and Tim Knopp, and sponsored in the Senate by Senator Bev Clarno; all are Bend area Republicans. Representative Westlund worked with Oregonís existing wilderness programs and particularly Catherine Freer Wilderness Therapy Expeditions, of Albany, and T.R.E.X., of Bend, in developing this bill.

Dr. Cooley, executive director of Freer, said he believes the forthcoming regulations will serve to improve the management quality and safety of Oregon programs, while avoiding the bureaucratic pitfalls that have developed in some other states.

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