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New optometrist likes Woodstocks small town feel

by: Elizabeth Ussher Groff From left: Dr. Christopher Thorsland, Phil and Kendra DeYoung, and Opticians Taylor Caraher and Jamie Weide have taken over the practice at Woodstock Eye Clinic – now known as Woodstock Eye Styles.

For many years Dr. Richard Roth was the optometrist at the Woodstock Eye Clinic on the northeast end of Safeway's parking lot. Last June he left Portland abruptly, leaving loose ends in the practice. Eyeglass orders sat on the shelves and follow-up appointments remained on the books. The reasons for Dr. Roth's departure are unclear but may be health-related.

Across the river, Dr. Christopher Thorsland, an optometrist at Eye Styles in Tualatin, and his business partner Phil DeYoung, heard about the situation - an decided to turn a crisis into an opportunity. The BEE interview with Dr. Thorsland provides some insights into the eye clinic's change.

BEE: Are you and Mr. DeYoung buying the Woodstock Eye Clinic business, now known as Woodstock Eye Styles?

Dr. T: Dr. Roth left without finding someone to take over his practice. We were assigned the patient charts, but we did not assume anything to do with his business [the two are technically different]. We signed a new lease with the landlord, and have made every effort to make good on promises and orders placed before he left.

BEE: Why did you decide to take over the clinic?

Dr. T: I was working at a corporate laser-vision correction center, as well as at my private practice in Tualatin, for the previous year and a half - and I decided I wanted to quit the corporate practice to focus on the private practice. Around the same time, Phil heard about the situation at Woodstock Eye Clinic. The practice in Tualatin was not busy enough to satisfy my needs, so I thought opening a clinic in Woodstock made sense. It has been my dream to work for myself in a small private practice. If it weren't for this opportunity, I would have had to find other work at other clinics. I had been to the neighborhood on a couple of occasions, and thought it was a good fit. I was raised in a small community (in rural Minnesota), and Woodstock has a small town feel to it. Since moving in, I'm happy to say that my positive first impressions have been confirmed.

BEE: What are your expectations for this Woodstock location?

Dr. T: I expect to run a full-service optometry clinic, and to make certain my patients receive quality eye care. Since opening, I have seen a population who needs more medical eye healthcare than I expected. I expect to be open six days a week, to have some evening availability, and to provide prompt service.

BEE: You got your degree at Pacific University in Forest Grove. You are an optometrist?

Dr. T: I graduated from Pacific in 2005 and have practiced since then as an optometrist licensed by the Oregon Board of Optometry. I carry the most up-to-date license the Board offers - I can prescribe topical, oral, and injectable medications, with some limitations, in the treatment of eye-related illnesses.

BEE: The wife and daughter of your business partner, Phil DeYoung, help out at Woodstock Eye Styles. Could this therefore be described as a family business?

Dr. T: We are very much a family business. Kendra, the daughter of Phil and Joann DeYoung, is working for us over the summer while she is on break from OSU. She is considering a career in optometry, and has been working at the clinic this summer to help her decide if the field is right for her. My wife, Sara Thorsland, has recently taken a leave from her job, and will be helping us out with our website.

BEE: What do you think, so far, of the Woodstock neighborhood?

Dr. T: I love it! The patients have been very understanding during the transition, and we have been made to feel very welcome. The community is obviously a strong one and I'm honored to be a part of it. I really feel like a small town eye doctor even though we are located in a city.

What is now known as 'Woodstock Eye Styles' can be reached at the original eye clinic's number: 503/775-4550.