Medical building emerges on Hood River waterfront

MCMC will occupy a new medical building under construction near Nichols Basin. Construction crews work on the upper stories Monday afternoon as passersby look on.

Photo by Patrick Mulvihill
MCMC will occupy a new medical building under construction near Nichols Basin. Construction crews work on the upper stories Monday afternoon as passersby look on.



Buildout started this week inside upper floors of the medical building on the Hood River waterfront that will house a new Mid-Columbia Medical Center outpatient care facility.

Construction began on the three-story structure last fall, but recently its shape and design has become more clearly defined. Completion is slated for early November.

The hospital plans to fill space in the building with therapy services as well as specialized clinics that will either be expanding from locations in The Dalles or relocating from elsewhere in Hood River.

MCMC, based in The Dalles, signed a lease with property owner Naito Development in 2016 to occupy the building, just west of Hampton Inn on Nichols Parkway.

“The whole key to the future of healthcare is access, so I’m embracing the Nichols landing location because that provides great access,” MCMC President and CEO Dennis Knox said.

Monday was the scheduled beginning of interior buildout on the second and third floors, Knox said, which begins a 100-day period leading up to construction’s wrap-up. From there, the hospital will need to receive a license for occupancy from the state health department before launching operations.

The third floor is planned for physical therapy and rehabilitation, Knox said. A floor plan isn’t finalized. The second floor will have various specialty clinics, such as cardiology, podiatry, and orthopedics.

MCMC offers outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy services through Hood River Therapy and urology specialty care through the Gorge Urology office at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital — those programs may relocate to the new building.

Plans aren’t settled for the first floor, according to Knox. It could be destined as a medical spa — similar to Water’s Edge spa in The Dalles — but Knox said MCMC is also considering an urgent care facility at the ground level.

Knox said that when he looked out from the second floor of the building under construction, he saw kite boarders on the river and thought that a care facility could serve people who get injured while doing water sports.

Hood River represents MCMC’s second biggest market in its primary service area. Knox views MCMC’s relationship with area hospitals as “healthy competition.”

He said he met with Jeanie Vieira, Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital CEO, and Robb Kimmes, CEO of Skyline Hospital in White Salmon, and had discussions about health services.

“I’ve always been collegial with my competitors … it makes us better,” Cox said. He stepped into his role at the helm of MCMC in May.

The Hood River facility will be the third major structure along Nichols Basin, near the confluence of the Hood River and Columbia River. Hampton Inn, a project finished in early 2016, falls to the east and Valero Gas Station lies to the west.

Other waterfront construction this summer includes two Key Development buildings along Portway Avenue, with mixed tenants, and a new locale for Sheppard’s, an orchard and vineyard equipment store, at Second Street and Riverside Drive.



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