PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A facility in Yamhill County helps men struggling with addiction issues by taking a different approach to recovery.
The Blanchet Farm is a sprawling, 62-acre property tucked away in Oregon’s wine country.
It offers gardens, farm animals and a woodshop — and a safe and supportive place for men with alcohol and drug addictions to escape the temptations of the city.
Tyson Horner’s first stay at Blanchet Farm took place more than 11 years ago. He told KOIN 6 News the farm has saved his life.
“I think the biggest thing out here is the peer support because we live together, we work together, we do everything together whether we like it or not,” Horner said.
He also credited the farm’s special emphasis on farm life and building activities for his healing.
Blanchet Farm Manager Ross Sears believes the facility has found a critical element needed to help men recover.
“I’m not knocking traditional treatment, I’ve been quite a few times,” Sears said. “Traditional was reading, writing groups all day long but there was no physical stuff.”
Sears said the Blanchet House in Portland obtained the property in 1962 for $12,000 with the goal to help men be more self-sufficient. Men who stay there have to do work — including carpentry, gardening, animal husbandry, cooking and cleaning.
Sears said items at the property like benches have all been made by men who have gone through the rehab program.
One of those men was Randy Donaldson. He once built custom homes and now works in Blanchet’s woodshop with the hope of pursuing finish work once he completes rehab.
Men can stay at Blanchet Farm for free for up to 8 months. After 90 days at the location, they can get a job outside the farm in order to save money.
They rely on donations to keep the farm going. Ross said the yearly operating costs are less than what it costs to send 2 men to jail. Blanchet Farm also sells wood furniture and products made at the property.
“When you get here, the work part of it — fixing something, building something, working together — that is priceless,” Sears said.