Oregon State Hospital
Museum of Mental Health
Housed in what was once the Oregon State Asylum, a state-of-the-art Salem museum now chronicles the history of mental health treatment.
From Asylum to Museum
When the Oregon State Insane Asylum first opened in 1883, the roots of mental illness were poorly understood. The causes of madness listed for its first inmates included expected conditions like dementia and head injuries. But they also included a laundry list of conditions that are shocking to our more modern sensibilities. Conditions such as grief, childbirth, overstudy or solitude are just a few common human experiences that were believed to sometimes cause madness and could potentially result in commitment to the State Asylum.
The fascinating chart illustrating these first admissions is just one of the artifacts now on display at the Oregon State Hospital’s Museum of Mental Health in Salem. Housed in the very building that first housed the Oregon State Asylum (later renamed the Oregon State Hospital), the Museum chronicles the history of mental health treatment. From the earliest era of tragically misinformed treatments, records and artifacts display not just the more brutal practices of days gone by, but also the caring concern and best intentions of many of the healthcare providers who were bound to administer them.
Thanks in part to a state park’s Heritage grant funded by Oregon Lottery dollars, the Mental Health Museum received funds to preserve two-dimensional artifacts like the documents describing the asylum’s early days. Through these documents and other artifacts, the Museum is able to preserve a sometimes troubling but fascinating history.
Looking back on this past helps remind us that, although we still have much to learn about the treatment of those struggling with mental illness, we have indeed come a very long way.
Overcoming the Stigma
Oregon State Hospital Memorial
Sadly, the stigma of mental illness can endure even after death. Over the years, hundreds of inmates of the State Hospital passed away at the institution. In many cases there was no family who could—or would—claim the body of a troubled relative. In these cases, the hospital would cremate the remains, placing the ashes in individual copper canisters.
After many decades in storage, these decaying canisters were given a much more respectful resting place. An original brick outbuilding was repurposed as a memorial, both to display the canisters and to respectfully list the names of those whose remains they contained. The project has resulted in new generations discovering forgotten ancestors and finally claiming their remains. The growing number of “holes” in the walls of the memorial each represent a reclaimed family member, formerly lost to history.
Could you have a forgotten relative interred at the memorial? Check the name list at the link above.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
The Oregon State Hospital is perhaps best known as the setting for Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The hospital also served as the filming locale for the movie version of Cuckoo’s Nest, which won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1976. The nearby Dome Building (pictured here), once part of the hospital facilities, stood in for a courthouse in an early scene from the classic movie.
To highlight Oregon’s growing importance as film location, the Oregon Film Office initiated a project to provide signage at locations like Salem’s Dome Building. The signs commemorate the movies filmed at the location and serve as a statewide network of easily recognizable trail markers. The Film Office also benefits from lottery funding through Business Oregon, enabling innovative programs like the Oregon Film Trail.Learn about the Oregon Film Trail
Albany’s Hebrew Cemetery Reclaimed
As frequently happens with our early cemeteries, the Albany Hebrew Cemetery had fallen into disrepair. Weeds and invasive vegetation had grown out of control. Many grave markers lay in ruined pieces. As sad as these conditions are at any burial ground, they were especially regrettable at this unique cemetery. The cemetery documents the lives and final resting sites of the Willamette Valley’s original Jewish settlers. As early as the 1870’s, a small community of Jewish families had settled in the Albany area. The tragic death of an infant death in one of these families was the catalyst that brought them together in an organized way. Together they founded the First Hebrew Congregation of Albany. In 1878, one of these families, the Senders, deeded the land that became the cemetery to the congregation.
A Park for Adventurers
Rugged and vast, Cottonwood Canyon is one of Oregon’s largest state parks at over 8,000 acres. Bordered by another 10,000 acres of federally-maintained public lands, this special place gives a new depth of meaning to the phrase “getting away from it all”. Before white settlers took hold of this land, the river was known as the Mah Hah to the Native Americans. In the 19th Century it was renamed the John Day River as part of a privately-owned cattle ranch. Between 1964 and 2008, the canyon and surrounding property were purchased by Oregon State Parks and the Western Rivers Conservancy. Seeking to protect the canyon while allowing the public to access the breathtaking area, Cottonwood Canyon became an Oregon State Park in 2013. With help from Oregon Lottery dollars, it’s been transformed into a unique wilderness and recreation experience for Oregonians and visitors alike. In 2019, more than $2 million in lottery dollars helped fund a learning center, cabins and restrooms, making it easier for visitors to set up a base camp from which to explore all Cottonwood Canyon has to offer. Plans are in the works to build a boat launch for easier access to the clear and open waters of the John Day, the largest free flowing river in the western United States. This undammed waterway is home to a year-round angler’s delight. Winter native steelhead, catfish and summer small-mouth bass mean the fish are constantly biting. Down the road, there’ll be even more ways to access the wild, back country of Cottonwood Canyon. Whether you choose to visit when spring turns the hills green or in winter when snow blankets the cliffs, just make sure you go to this unique and special place. It’s a perfect sample of the natural beauty of Oregon.
Peer-to-Peer Support for Veterans
At Project ABLE, veterans receive training to help fellow veterans with behavioral health. Thanks to a grant of lottery dollars, Salem-based Project ABLE will train veterans as peer support specialists for other veterans with behavioral health issues. In peer support, an individual provides support to another who shares similar life experiences. Fellow veterans will be trained as support specialists because those who’ve also taken the Oath of Enlistment best understand military related trauma. This sort of support, along with additional wellness classes and services, can provide veterans-in-need with a much brighter future. Thanks to Lottery support, Project ABLE’s training will benefit veterans in six northwest Oregon counties.
Legal Aid for Veterans
St. Andrew Legal Clinic (SALC), based in Portland, provides legal protections for some of the community’s most vulnerable people. Specializing in family law, SALC provides legal advocacy on matters like adoptions, divorce, child custody and support, and more. Thanks to a grant of lottery dollars, SALC will now be able to leverage their legal expertise for the benefit of Oregon veterans, with a focus on economic stability and housing security. With the support of lottery dollars, SALC will provide veterans in five Oregon counties with access to the legal services they might need as they return to civilian life.
Solving Veteran Homelessness in Southern Oregon
KLCAS, a Local agency, helps homeless veterans and those at risk for homelessness. Military veterans can be particularly vulnerable to a housing crisis for a variety of reasons. In southern Oregon, Klamath-Lake Community Action Services (KLCAS) is using a grant of lottery dollars to help prevent low-income veterans and their families from falling into homelessness—or to rapidly re-house already homeless veterans. Assistance might take the form of help finding and accessing a rental, childcare assistance, utility assistance, and other types of support services veterans need to obtain housing and stay housed. With the help of the ODVA, your lottery dollars are distributed to local organizations like KLCAS where they can do targeted good for Oregon veterans.
Have you ever had a butterfly settle softly on your shoulder? It’s said to be a sign of good luck. What a great theme for this exciting Scratch-it, Butterfly Bingo! Match the caller’s numbers to the numbers on any of the five cards included on your ticket. A butterfly symbol means a free space—another step closer to completing that all important “Bingo!” Flit, float, or flutter down to your nearest store and look for the butterflies for your Bingo Scratch-it fun!
The Camo Crossword
Calling all word lovers! There’s a $15,000 top prize just waiting to be found with The Camo Crossword! You might need your compass as you search for the camouflaged letters, but it’s totally worth it. Imagine all the camo gear you can buy. And don’t forget the binocular bonuses for additional chances to win. Happy scratchin’!
You may be familiar with the story of a certain girl from Kansas who recites “no place like home” as she taps some Ruby Red slippers to skip security at the airport. While our Ruby Red Scratch-it can’t get you back to Oregon from a magical kingdom, it could whisk $10,000 into your bank account! If you uncover the word “red”, you’ll win an instant $25. So grab a couple of these shiny $2 tickets next time you stop by the store for a tasty treat. Saying “there’s no place like home” as you scratch is completely up to you.
Luck be a lady! This sensational, hot-pink Scratch-it could be your ticket to top prize of $50,000. This lucky lady comes with her own good luck charm—a four-leaf clover in solid gold. Pick up a Lady Luck Scratch-it today and maybe, just maybe, Lady Luck will smile on you!
Are you a fan of the classics? Do things like classic cars, books and movies put a spring in your step? Then CLASSIC CASH might just be for you! This $10 Scratch-it offers a chance to grab some classic coin, with a top prize of $100-grand! Pick up CLASSIC CASH for a bit of stylish fun.
From a dazzling blue sky to the deep blue of the ocean, there’s no better color than brilliant sapphire! And now you can capture that same sunny-day feeling with Brilliant Sapphire Scratch-its. This gem of a ticket comes with a chance at a top prize of $50,000! Just look for the blue the next time you’re picking up Scratch-its—that’s Brilliant Sapphire!