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Opposition to proposed Lynnwood opioid treatment center grows

There’s growing opposition to a proposed opioid treatment center set to open in Lynnwood later this month. The facility, proposed by Acadia Healthcare, still needs to be approved by the state’s Department of Health.

While many residents tell KIRO 7 a treatment center is welcome and needed in Lynnwood, they feel the location at the corner of 196th Street and 24th Avenue is inappropriate. It’s about 400 feet from a local Boys and Girls Club facility. It also is next to a baseball field that attracts many Lynnwood families and children.

“What is the criteria?” asks Lynnwood parent Vivian Dong. She believes the center’s placement should be chosen with more intention. She points out its closeness to the Boys and Girls Club. She adds that it’s far from public transportation and other city resources that treatment patients might need.

Dong created a grassroots campaign called Safe Lynnwood to inform the community about the treatment center. This week, more than 80 parents protested the proposed center. One of the participants was Lynnwood parent Rachel Zhung.

“I am so concerned,” says Zhung. “And I think as a citizen of Lynnwood, I care about the safety of my neighborhood. I care about the safety of Lynnwood.”

But location isn’t their only grievance; so is a lack of transparency. Lynnwood City Council President George Hurst agrees.

Hurst tells KIRO 7 that Acadia Healthcare applied for a permit last summer to begin renovating the Lynnwood facility and construction was underway in the fall. But he says the community and the city council weren’t notified about the proposed plans for a treatment center until the middle of December. He says that’s when he received a notice from the Department of Health.

“And I said, ‘We have no idea what is going on here.’ No, it looks like this is all kind of a done deal,” said Hurst.

He tells KIRO 7 anyone opening a drug treatment center, like the one proposed by Acadia Healthcare, is legally required to notify the city and hold a public hearing.

He says Acadia Healthcare held the hearing on December 29, less than a month before they planned to open.

“It just seems like the whole process has been so not transparent. Acadia failed in their outreach,” said Hurst.

Despite the issues, he says the council’s hands may be tied when it comes to the proposed center. The Lynnwood center is meant to serve patients who have been relocated from Bothell. An Acadia Healthcare treatment center recently closed there after serving the community for more than two decades.

“What do we do if we delay the opening? Bothell’s [center is] closed. This clinic in Bothell served 300 people. And what do we do then with those 300 people if they don’t have someplace else to go?” said Hurst. “So it’s all time is of the essence to get this resolved. It really is.”

KIRO 7 reached out to Acadia Healthcare and its Lynnwood representative multiple times but have not received a response.

Hurst says Acadia Healthcare has promised to provide security for the facility if needed.

As for what’s next, Hurst said the city council is looking at its legal options. The council will allow for public comment on the proposed treatment center at their next meeting.

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