In winter 1987, a homeless severely mentally ill 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 fearful and violent and eventually was admitted to a Portland-area mental health facility.

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 a church member. The fledgling agency also provided outpatient counseling and a socialization program. 

Since then, South Lane Mental Health has become the region’s largest comprehensive mental health services provider.


1987 Mentally ill homeless woman takes up residence at First Presbyterian Church
1988 Bohemia Residential Community founded
1991 Bohemia Residential Community becomes a qualified Medicaid provider
1992 Agency name changed to South Lane Mental Health
First full time executive director hired
1994 South Lane Mental Health awarded funding to begin “Passages” program to help 5 long-term patients from state hospitals transition to living in the community
1995 Agency moves to offices on North Ninth Street and begins offering outpatient services
South Lane Mental Health hires Christine Ménager, the first medically qualified individual in South Lane County with a specialty in managing psychiatric medications
1997 South Lane Mental Health designated a LaneCare contractor providing mental health services to Oregon Health Plan recipients
2003 Began providing services to children; established relationships with local agencies: Head Start, South Lane Family Relief Nursery, and South Lane School District
2008 The City of Cottage Grove won a Community Development Block Grant to purchase and renovate a new community mental health facility for South Lane Mental Health
2009 Began the Town & Country Garden Tour, the agency’s annual community outreach fundraising effort
2010 South Lane Mental Health moved from rented quarters to a permanent home at 1345 Birch Avenue in Cottage Grove
South Lane Mental Health becomes a United Way agency
2011 Purchased and renovated the former Community Health Education Center building (1245 Birch Avenue)
Certified to provide Intensive Community-based Treatment Services (ICTS) for severely troubled children and their families
2012 In collaboration with United Way of Lane County and the 100% Access Coalition, South Lane Mental Health provided administrative oversight of a community health worker pilot project
2014 Chosen as one of five Lane County non-profit organizations to receive funds from The Great Rotary Duck Race