Oregon AFSCME Statement on Murder of Cascadia Mental Health Aide

July 18, 2023 - The horrific murder of Cascadia McCarthy Place Mental Health Aide, Haley Rogers has placed a spotlight on the issue of safety at one of Multnomah County’s mental health providers.

When contract negotiations began in May of 2023, the majority of Cascadia workers named safety as their number one concern. Frequent issues raised by members have included the scheduling of just one staff person to oversee a facility, program, or outing, in addition to a weapon risk protocol to protect staff and clients.

“These are dangerous jobs, and our passion for the work, and clients we serve who have nowhere else to turn, does not change the fact that we need to feel safe at work,” said Liz O’Connor, a Mobile Mental Health Associate at Cascadia Health, and member of the bargaining committee.

“Earlier this year, the majority of Cascadia workers identified safety as our top priority for bargaining. Oregon AFSCME has continually advocated for, and will never stop fighting for increased staffing and further safety protections” continued O’Connor.

When Ms. Rogers was murdered, she was the only person working the overnight shift at McCarthy Place, an independent living facility with room for ten clients.

“The policy of having one person on site is a significant safety concern that workers have been raising for years. No one should work alone. We believe that this was preventable with proper staffing” said Joe Baessler, Associate Director for Oregon AFSCME.

“Safety has to be the number one priority for all employers. It is not only a disservice to the communities Cascadia serves to only have one staff person on site, but even prior to this incident, a well-documented safety risk that has to stop” continued Baessler.

Interested in supporting Haley's family? There is an official GoFundMe campaign with all donations going directly to her family and will help alleviate the financial burdens they now face, including funeral expenses, counseling services, and any other unforeseen costs that may arise