Oregon Senate honors Hank Collins with a concurrent resolution

The Oregon Senate has honored Hank Collins, the late director of Jackson County's Department of Human Services.

On Monday, the Senate passed Concurrent Resolution 4, recognizing Collins, who came to Oregon in 1987 to run what was then the Jackson County Health Department. He served Jackson County until November 2007, when he fell ill with myelodysplastic syndrome, a condition in which the bone marrow stops producing red and white blood cells.

Collins died on Feb. 12, 2008.

The resolution, sponsored by Sen. Alan Bates and Rep. Peter Buckley, both Ashland Democrats, noted that Collins sought to provide the best treatment and case management services, even in the face of political criticism.

Collins was lauded for launching a groundbreaking needle-exchange program for drug users and a methadone treatment clinic for addicts. He supervised Jackson County's first mandatory regulation of woodstoves and open burning, transforming Jackson County from one of the worst air-quality environments in the nation to one that consistently met the requirements of the federal Clean Air Act. He served on the founding board of directors for Kids Unlimited, a nonprofit organization that provides services for local children and teens.

The resolution originally was planned to be submitted during the Legislature's 2008 special session, but because of schedules and timing, it did not reach the floor. Buckley and Bates revived it this year.

"Hank Collins was a visionary," Buckley said, "who believed that one person could make a difference and change a community."

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