Multnomah County Announces Abrupt Departures of Top Mental Health Officials During Investigation of Neglect

Dr. David Hidalgo and Joan Rice are out immediately.

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury (Motoya Nakamura / Multnomah County)

Multnomah County today announced the departure of two top mental health officials: Dr. David Hidalgo, the director of addiction and mental health services  and Joan Rice, the director of mental health care quality.

The moves come as the county investigates allegations first raised last August that its staff failed to follow up on 1,200 reports of abuse or neglect of county residents dealing with mental illness. Those complaints, which focus on the Unity Center for Behavioral Health, were first reported by the Portland Tribune.

The county announced personnel moves in a statement today:

Here is that statement in full:

Ebony Clarke named new Mental Health and Addiction Services Division Director

Multnomah County on Wednesday announced that Ebony Clarke has been named director of Mental Health and Addiction Services Division.

The Division oversees a continuum of behavioral health services and a provider network to prevent, intervene and treat mental illness and addiction. Chief Operating Officer Marissa Madrigal announced the appointment. Clarke, 42, has been deputy director since 2014 and acting interim director since August 2018.

She replaces David Hidalgo, who is no longer with the County.

Born and raised in Portland, Clarke is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked in public and non-profit behavioral health organizations for more than 20 years, with particular emphasis in organizational development, management and equity and inclusion. Clarke holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Oregon and a master's in social work from Portland State University.

Prior to assuming the role of deputy director, Clarke managed the children's system of mental health care for the County, was the Service Director of Child and Family Mental Health and Culturally Specific Addiction Services at Lifeworks NW and was a behavioral health program director at the Juvenile Justice Center of Philadelphia.

On Wednesday the Division also announced a recruitment for a quality manager of behavioral health care. Former manager Joan Rice is no longer with the County. The County is declining further comment pending an on-going review of the Division.

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