The Alaska Connection

21 02 2011

From Morningside Hospital Catalog, 1920.

“Although Portland is somewhat remote from Alaska…” begins the less obvious explanation in a 1916 book of an intricate history of contractual agreements that brought thousands of Alaskans to Oregon for treatment in mental health facilities here.[1] 

This history begins January 16, 1901, when the federal government contracted with the Oregon State Insane Asylum (OSIA) in Salem to care for people deemed “insane” in the then U.S. Territory of Alaska. The year long contract stipulated that OSIA care for what the book calls the “Alaska insane” for $20 per month per patient.  During that year 29 patients were taken to Salem, 27 men and 2 women.  The contract was renewed for year at the first contracts’ expiration. [2]

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