If an empty lot can be called prominent, this would be the one.
The landscape is about to change on 12th Street near Pacific, across from Rosauers, as Columbia Gorge Family Medicine will break ground soon on a new clinic building at the site.
The new clinic will be located on what is currently vacant land just east of the Columbia Gorge Community College Indian Creek Campus.
Long a site filled with cars in its days as a new car lot, the land has more recently been used by temporary businesses, and for piles of fill dirt and for a snow removal depot during major winter weather events in the past few years.
After nearly 30 years at 1108 June St., the medical practice will move next year. Construction will start in January, with move-in happening later in 2011.
“As our clinic has continued to expand, we have simply outgrown the building here, running out of space, and it was starting to be a problem,” said Kristen Dillon, M.D., one of the four physician-owners of the practice. With her are Tony Gay, M.D., Steve Becker, M.D., and Beth Foster, M.D.Moving to a new site is part of the clinic’s plan for the next 30 years of Columbia Gorge Family Medicine.
“The way we practice medicine has changed, and we’re ready for a fresh start in a building that reflects this.
“This new clinic will give us room to grow to meet community needs, including adding a pediatrician next year,” Dillon said.
“We think the 12th and Pacific site will offer convenient patient access and the possibility of collaboration with the college, as well as being easy-to-find for our regular and acute-care patients.”
Proximity to the college will improve the existing collaboration: the clinic serves as a medical assistant training site for CGCC nursing students.
The clinic has hired Fischer Development to design and construct the clinic. The medical clinic will use part of the parcel; with a second building site available for sale or future development.
“We’re certainly looking to improve anything we can to improve privacy; to maintain a setting that is comfortable for people, who often come feeling ill and worried,” Dillon said.The current building is too small, and the clinic is out of parking, a problem that would be aggravated by increased development in the area. (Expansion plans are under way at the neighboring Providence Health campus.)
“Medicine has changed in certain ways, and we are anticipating more demand for primary care with health care reform, and don’t need a filing area and as much reception space,” Dillon said.Health care reform will mean group clinics serve as “first call for just about everything, including medication, coordinated out of that practice — which has been our style for decades,” Dillon said
.These days a group practice also includes “a robust computer and information storage system, as we work to improve communication quality within the practice and with other sources of care,” Dillon said.The clinic serves patients from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 8-2 on Saturdays; and acute care weekdays from 5 to 7 p.m.Dillon said this recognizes that “your infection doesn’t know it’s 6:30 on a Tuesday.
“With working families, and relying on two incomes, people can’t always be there within traditional hours.”