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Apr-09-2009 07:25printcomments

Tour of Historic Oregon State Hospital's Final Day

Haunted history and Hollywood hype shadow old asylum's last tour.

Bernard Powell of Salem, Oregon gazes at one of the state hospital's oldest buildings
Bernard Powell of Salem, Oregon gazes at one of the state hospital's oldest buildings. Photo and video by Tim King

(SALEM, Ore.) - The old Oregon State Hospital buildings on Center Street have been the center of ceaseless activity this week, as destruction crews render them into rubble and a new stage is set for the evolution of psychological and psychic treatment in Salem.

In Oregon's capitol city, state health officials' mission to spread and cultivate sanity is speeding to catch up to the new Millennium. Part of that means an accelerated construction program to get not one but two facilities up and running in Oregon.

Patricia Feeny with Oregon Department of Human Services, which oversees and operates the state hospital facilities, took my camera and I on a tour of some of the buildings and the tunnels that have been unaccessible by civilians for decades, spanning 1.8 miles around, under and through the state hospital grounds.

As of Monday of this week, some of those facilities are on their way out. You will see in this video, some of the last recorded images of this place that anyone will ever see.

Patricia explained that it all comes down to a big improvement for her agency, which she believes will be better able to fulfill its role with more effectiveness, than in the old buildings that date back to the 1880's.

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor.
Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 in Afghanistan with Oregon troops. Tim recently returned from Iraq where he covered the war there while embedded with an Oregon Guard aviation unit. Serving the community in very real terms, is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators.
You can send Tim an email at this address:

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LoveTheTunnels April 9, 2009 8:53 am (Pacific time)

You should do a story about fairview and it's tunnels. I have a hunch that there are many more tunnels under salem as well.

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