Integrated Recovery Care that Reflects the Human Experience

Rolling Bridgeway Cafe’s lead chef, Matt Wangler

Brand Story – Bridgeway serves its patients through a continuum of care and willingness to innovate.

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 For a long time, recovery services were in the business of “fixing” people, pushing abstinence and hard ultimatums. Over the past decade, a shift occurred. “What’s wrong with you?” became “What happened to you?” and service providers began exchanging narrow, one-dimensional care for an integrated approach that acknowledged the complete picture.
Salem-based Bridgeway Recovery Services — which provides chemical dependency treatment, problem gambling services, mental health therapy and primary medical care — was born from that movement. Fueled by evolutions in brain science and increased health-care funding, it embraced the belief that recovery centers could do better than the 20% success rate of the time.
Built on innovative solutions and a profound respect for trauma, Bridgeway operates with a non-judgmental, non-coercive approach to out-patient and in-patient care.

“We began asking, ‘What is the difference between people who succeed and those who don’t?’ And we saw that the ones with serious trauma issues struggle the most. We work hard to understand trauma and we treat substance abuse like a disease,” explains Tim Murphy, CEO of Bridgeway Recovery Services.

TimTim Murphy, CEO of Bridgeway Recovery Services of Salem
When examining the effective continuum of care model that the center has organically built the past 10 years, it is clear that Bridgeway’s success did not come from staying in its lane. Instead, the team asked new questions, examined the whole story and followed the answers wherever they led.

Bridgeway broke the mold by choosing to offer co-occurring treatment programs designed for the many who experience overlapping chemical dependency and mental health issues.

“People with mental health symptoms didn’t respond well to just chemical dependency treatment,” Murphy adds. “Then we saw that this population also needed primary care. They often don’t do well with clinics; so we began offering primary care. That’s what integrated care is. It looks at the wellbeing of one entire body.”

After basic health care, the organization focused on employment as another social determinant of health and bought a food truck to be run by people in recovery — giving them work experience and helping them connect with the community. The Rolling Bridgeway Cafe, a common sighting at Salem’s farmers’ markets and events, employs six full-time employees that all work to make the food truck possible.

Between 40% and 50% of Bridgeway staff members are individuals in recovery, while about a fifth of those are graduates of its program.

“Meaningful work is so important to your mental, physical and spiritual health — being able to provide for yourself and your family, to feed your dog. It makes you feel good today, so you’ll want to feel good tomorrow too,” says Murphy.
There’s a pattern here: look at the whole, identify gaps, then dare to go there, even if the solution appears out of scope or unconventional.

Bridgeway Recovery Services goes upstream too, meeting individuals at vulnerable stages in their lives to boost chances of success. It conducts “reach-ins” regularly, sending mentors into prisons to support inmates as they transition into the outside world.

“Years ago, I noticed that people coming back from prison were having a hard time finding a place to live. As a result, they would be homeless and would try to get engaged but had difficulty,” Murphy says. “So we leased, then bought, an apartment complex that provides safe, sober housing for people returning from prison.”

BD2F1878James Wilborn, lead Addiction Treatment Specialist at men’s residential recovery facility

Given that recovery rates increase when people are taken out of their negative environments, Bridgeway runs an annual summer camp for between 20 and 30 adolescents that intertwines therapy with jet skiing, swimming and campfires. Additionally, thanks to a grant from Willamette University and the City of Salem, the team built a music studio to let teens explore musical self-expression.

Bridgeway works hard to shape a future in which mental health providers are as commonly visited as the dentist and discussed just as openly. Its annual Run for Recovery event is a step in that direction by bringing the conversation out into the community.

“I love challenging the image of what people think those with substance-use struggles look like and seeing that small shift in perception,” says Jenna Moller, Community Relations Specialist at Bridgeway Recovery Services. “I think societal change starts when we push back against the stigma associated with chemical dependency and mental health.”

jennaJenna Moller, Community Relations Specialist

Society’s stereotypic face of addiction is slowly evolving to reflect reality: the new face of addiction could be a loving grandmother, passionate politician, favorite high-school teacher or friend.

To celebrate its 10-year anniversary and further challenge misconceptions, the center is launching its Bridgeway Strong marketing campaign to remind everyone that choosing therapy shows strength, not weakness.

Bridgeway believes there is more than one path to wellness: “As the saying goes, ‘truth is a pathless land.’ There are multiple ways to get there and the more holistically we can manage that, the better,” Murphy concludes.

From the outside, it may be difficult to follow why a treatment facility provides housing for recent inmates, runs a food truck, owns a music studio, organizes summer camps or offers health care. But to Bridgeway and the people it serves, it’s clear as day: If life is diverse, holistic and complex, why would care be one dimensional? Shouldn’t it be as multifaceted as the human experience?

Bridgeway Recovery Services thinks so.


Brand stories are paid content articles that allow Oregon Business advertisers to share news about their organizations and engage with readers on business and public policy issues.  The stories are produced in house by the Oregon Business marketing department. For more information, contact associate publisher Courtney Kutzman.