Oregon's Senate President Says Lawmakers Should Support Mental Health Investments

As Oregon lawmakers grapple with a $1.6 billion budget shortfall, even some legislative leaders are having trouble gaining traction for their priorities.

Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, made the case Monday for keeping mental health programs off the chopping block in the upcoming spending plan.

"There are cuts and there are cuts," Courtney said to reporters in his state Capitol office. "I think mental health is taking a disproportionate amount of cuts. And there are certain things you can't cut as much as others."

Courtney says he was especially angry about proposals to close a state-run psychiatric hospital in Junction City. That plan was contained in cost-cutting proposals from both Gov. Kate Brown and legislative budget writers.

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