Mental Health Department Changes Ahead

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Thu, June 28 2012 at 4:44 PM, Updated: Thu, June 28 2012 at 4:55 PM

Some big changes are ahead for the 1,100 people served by Klamath County Mental Health...

Those changes include location, service providers, and even the name of the agency.

Amanda Bunger has had to deal with some major changes as director of Klamath County Mental Health. 

The main office on Vandenberg Road was heaviliy damaged by fire in February of last year.  Bunger says the good news is that repairs on the building are nearing completion...

"We will be moving in late summer, early fall.  We need to equip the building with computers, and furniture, and what have you."

Staff psychiatrist Dr. Michael Thein resigned last December when the Oregon State Medical Board began an investigation into his competency.  Bunger reports that the agency has been using substitutes for the past several months...

"We're currently recruiting for both a psychiatrist and a nurse practitioner to stay with us permanently."

Klamath County Mental Health could also be undergoing a name change as soon as next week.  Some of the names up for consideration include:  'Klamath Behavioral Health',  'Klamath Behavioral Health and Wellness', and the 'Klamath Coordinated Health Alliance'.

"We think it's a good time for a name change."  Notes Bunger.  "Because we will have a brand new building, we will be starting with new services on the hill that have never been provided in Klamath County."

And Amanda Bunger hopes that will be a healthy change.

59 year old Michael Wynn entered a plea of 'guilty, but insane' to arson charges for starting the Mental Health Department fire.

The reconstruction costs have been covered through insurance.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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