The Vernonia Health Center’s new Carolyn Keasey Memorial Building is open for business at 1005 Cougar Street. It’s the result of a multiple year effort by the Vernonia Health Center Board (VHCB) to develop a plan and raise money to build a new facility out of the floodplain so that Vernonia and the Upper Nehalem Valley region can continue to have local access to medical care. Designed to incorporate a team/multiple provider-model, the goal is to create a true medical home in Vernonia. Primary care is provided in partnership with the Public Health Foundation of Columbia County and Pacific University. The Vernonia Health Center Board will bring additional services to the new facility to improve health care in Vernonia, so stay tuned for updates.
Designed by Scott Edwards Architects, the project was managed by Joan Jasper, and built by Five Star Builders overseen by Clint Jackson and Al Jenkins. It’s situated on land owned by the City of Vernonia for which the Vernonia Health Center Board has a fifty-year lease.
The facility is completely paid for, there was no direct cost to the community, and the VHCB is completely debt free. Private foundations provided the bulk of the money. FEMA buyout money and funding from Providence via the donation campaign they held after the 2007 flood provided the rest of the funding. With deep gratitude we acknowledge the assistance
of the following:
Meyer Memorial Trust $300,000
The Ford Family Foundation $250,000
The Collins Foundation $100,000
Oregon Community Foundation $35,000
Providence donation campaign $191,000
Samuel S. Johnson Foundation
$5,000 (which Senator Betsy Johnson herself brought to the Groundbreaking Ceremony)
FEMA Buyout $171,000
(A Big Thank you to the Community Action Team group for their work on this.)
Your Vernonia Health Center Board, a completely volunteer entity, worked long and hard to keep costs down while building a modern flexible facility. The VCHB and local volunteers through the Master Gardener program, locally spearheaded by Heather Lewis, Jim and Marie Krahn, Dr. Thiringer, and many others provided the native, low maintenance landscaping. Volunteers from the board, community, the Public Health Foundation, and Pacific University students did the move from the old to the new facility.
Special guests will be attending the official Grand Opening celebration on October 25th from 11:00 to 3:00. Tours will be available. The Vernonia Health Center Board encourages the community to come and celebrate another step forward in the rebuilding of Vernonia.