There are approximately seven miles of tunnels under the State Hospital and the State Penitentiary. Both institutions were previously linked by one long tunnel. The Prison supplies all the dry goods, beef, poultry,pork,laundry and milk for the hospital rsidents. A small electric engine would pull4-5 cars each day with provisions for the hospital. The rail way worked from the 1910’s until the 1960’s when the tunnel use was discontinued after three inmates made an escape attempt hiding in vats of hamburger, raw hamburger. One inmate suffocated the other two gave up after hiding for 40 minutes in the raw hamburger, breathing through two foot long straws. After that my father’s construction company was hired by the prison warden mr. gladden to cave-in the main tunnel linking the two institutions. Many people have said that there are tunnels from the state hospital linking the hospital to the state capitol, that is a falsehood. Fantasy. The tunnels under the hospital do go to exits underground to the Jason Lee cometary and to the Salem rehab center, which was formerly the Salem Maternity hospital. I haveexplored all of the tunnels under the hospital, and seen a bowling alley, a boxing rink, a swimming pool and many other long ago closed up activity centers. Staff who used to live on the grounds would, for a nights activity, go into the tunnels ad shoot rats, big rats, by flashlight with 22 caliber pistols.
Well here I am blogging today, 2nd. time. Time teaching at the Oregon State Hospital was wild. I saw many things, staff helping themselves to antique furniture, stealing food, materials, even blankets. Also repeatedly witnessed several staff getting stoned on pot and drinking during work hours. Oh yes, whats new, welcome to working for the state of oregon. Staff at OSH had several places, mainly in the tunnels and outlying buildings where they ‘recreated’ after hours. I taught there 1973-1978. Then left in 1978 to teach at the Oregon State Penitentiary. It was much safer at the State Pen then at the State Hospital. Hospital staff as well as teachers would take off on any given hour of the day to go do errands, have a long lunch or just to go home, while still on the payroll, AS I said welcome to working for the state. Well that is enough for now.
I taught at the Oregon State Hospital when the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest” was being filmed. That was a crazy time, some of the kids I taught worked as ”grips” on the movie, I was able to meet Danny DeVito, Michael Douglas, Will Redfern and crazy Jack. It was a good time at the hospital,we cared about the patients then, the children were locked up in the adult wards, this was long before a Children’s Unit was built. I had all the kids, 21< ages that were locked up in the adult security wards. We had kids ages 12 to 19, in my security school. I often took my irish wolfhound pepper with me into the classroom. When a kid began to act out, I would send pepper to go and sit on them. I would take them down through the tunnels under center street to go to the pool to swim. That was fine until one of the kids would take a dump i nthe pool. then everyone out, and the pool had to be cleaned. The pool custodian Kenny hated it when that happened. which it did on a regular basis. The kids and I had a good time. I taught them the basics, plus how to act ”normal”, be good and behave. The classroom was in a ‘dead’ ward, no longer used by anyone. we had the run of the ward–played baseball, bowled and played kickball. We only broke a few light fixtures and windows.