You can't put just anybody in charge

Mental illness is the cause of so much that's wrong in our society these days. Homelessness? Half of it is mental illness. Gun violence? Probably more than half. Racism? Mental illness probably plays a role there, too.

So you would think that the Oregon state government, which finds itself in far better financial shape than anyone would have thought a year ago, would be sure to have its act together on the basics of mental health.

But of course, no.

In fact, it's mismanaged the situation so badly that they are now literally calling in the National Guard for duty to staff the everyday operations of the state's psychiatric institution, Oregon State Hospital.

Significant staffing shortages at the Oregon State Hospital in Salem have prompted health officials to call for the National Guard’s assistance. This week, a call also went out to all managers and supervisors who are state employees to temporarily take shifts.

“We need your help,” Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen wrote on Tuesday to state employees. “OHA has exhausted all other staffing options for the hospital’s Salem Campus, and our circumstances are dire.”

On Wednesday, the OHA, which oversees the state’s psychiatric hospital, requested 30 nurses from the National Guard. The governor’s office has not reached a decision on whether to fill that request.

“The Guard is also usually called in after all other civilian and state assets have been exhausted,” Oregon Military Department spokesman Stephen Bomar told OPB.

This is what happens when you put a building permit guy in charge of public health. He's running this like he ran vaccine scheduling, which is to say, atrociously. Week after week, he proves that he's in over his head, and yet somehow he lives a charmed life. Our governor, Killer Kate, should be ashamed.