Washington County commissioners approve $250,000 toward $723,854 sought by Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation to complete $7.7 million project; opening is scheduled in summer 2018

Washington County commissioners have made good on a promise to help complete construction of a new Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation wellness clinic in Beaverton.

The commissioners approved $250,000 toward the foundation's remaining goal of $723,854 for the clinic, which is scheduled to open in summer 2018.

The item was on the board's consent agenda Tuesday, Oct. 10, so there was no discussion at the meeting.

"This commitment from Washington County brings us to 91 percent of our $7.7 million goal to open this new clinic debt-free," Kasi Woidyla, a spokeswoman for the foundation, said Wednesday after the board action. "We appreciate the board's acknowledgement of the important role that Virginia Garcia plays in keeping Washington County residents healthy and thank them for their leadership and commitment to our community."

Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation runs numerous clinics in Washington and Yamhill counties.

Ground for the new Beaverton clinic, which will triple the size of the current clinic that opened in 2004, was broken on Nov. 14, 2016.

The planned 36,000-square-foot clinic on Cedar Hills Boulevard, across from the current clinic, will enable the staff to serve 50 percent more patients than the 12,000 now seen annually. Two-thirds live in households under the federal poverty level, and nearly half (42 percent) are under age 18.

When the original clinic opened in 2004, it served 3,000 patients annually.

"Our current clinic in Beaverton is at capacity. Every inch of space is being used: storage closets have been turned into exam rooms, staff do their work in the hallways or in crammed offices and we are out of room to see new patients," Woidyla said.

"The new clinic will house a partnership with Pacific University, providing hands-on educational opportunities for health professions students; as well as multipurpose rooms and a teaching kitchen to support our patients in healthy eating and active living with exercise and cooking classes.

The request for funding was made by Serena Cruz, the foundation's executive director, during county budget discussions in May.

Most of the $7.7 million for the project has been raised from foundations, state and federal grants, Care Oregon and Providence Health & Services.

Cruz said the foundation board seeks to complete the project without debt.

Washington County officials said in May they would try to contribute something but deferred action until the fall. The commissioners were advised this week that $250,000 could be drawn from the county Gain Share fund without affecting other projects.

Gain Share funds are state payments that help offset losses in county property taxes from business investments exceeding $100 million, such as those by Intel and Genentech. County commissioners have generally reserved the money for capital projects, such as the current seismic reinforcement of the Public Services Building and Law Enforcement Center in Hillsboro.

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Adds comments from Virginia Garcia spokeswoman.

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