In winter 1987, a mentally ill homeless woman moved into the First Presbyterian Church in Cottage Grove. Because there were no community mental health or housing resources available, church members allowed her to stay. However, she became paranoid and psychotic and was admitted to a Portland-area psychiatric facility for treatment.
Social workers recommended a residential placement for the woman upon her release, but there was no housing for persons with psychiatric disabilities in Cottage Grove.
In response, the First Presbyterian Church formed a committee to determine whether a local mental health service could be created in Cottage Grove. A community board of directors was formed and began the process of incorporating as a private non-profit.
The next year, the organization, first called “Bohemia Residential Community”, began providing residential services to five people in a house donated by the local Cottage Grove Woodard family, and members of the Presbyterian Church.
Since then, South Lane Mental Health has become the region’s largest comprehensive mental health services provider.