Make the McKenzie Connection!

Clinic rebuild taking shape

New building could open next June in Blue River

The annual report and election of officers for McKenzie Valley Wellness (MVW) were on the agenda but blueprints took center stage at the non-profit’s meeting last Tuesday. “Our five-year vision is the McKenzie Valley region is sustainably renewed and rebuilt as a lively, robust destination community - not just as a place to visit, but as a place to live,” was the way MVW president Val Rapp described the group’s goals. “Job one for McKenzie Valley Wellness is to rebuild the medical clinic. Our vision is for an expanded health and wellness building,” she added.

On hand to explain details of the 3,200 square foot structure was Curt Wilson of Wilson Architecture in Eugene. His illustrations showed a rectangular building with access from Dexter Street to either a parking area or a flow through a driveway that would allow for patient dropoffs at the front door. Besides patient exam rooms and office areas, the clinic would be configured so that a portion could be used as a community or multi-purpose room after normal day-to-day hours of operation, Wilson said.

A local firm, Dale Turnley Construction, was selected from four contractors that submitted bids for the project. “We feel very confident that Dale’s team will deliver a high-quality building while providing as many local jobs as possible,” Rapp said.

Dale Turnley was also at the meeting and said he felt it was a good idea to get the architect and contractor working together to help develop the final design. “This is the time to do it,” he said. “Taking an eraser (to drawings) is easy. Once we’re at the point of going for permits, changing anything becomes expensive and we have a tight budget already to deal with.”

If all goes well, it’s estimated the building could have a roof on by Thanksgiving and be ready for a grand opening next June.

When the ballots were tallied, incumbents Robin Roberts, Steve Severin, and Jennifer Zirkle were all reelected, along with a new director, Tim Hooton. Also passed was an amendment to the MVW bylaws that prohibits Orchid employees or their spouses from serving on the organization’s board of directors.

Rapp also reported that the Oregon Department of Justice had concluded its inquiry in October 2022, and “found no financial mismanagement, no misuse of money, and no wrongdoing.” Responding to the inquiry, however, racked up some large legal and accounting fees that totaled $21,727 in 2022 and $79,738 in 2023.

Looking forward, Rapp said McKenzie Valley Wellness has decided to support the local Food Pantry, now based in McKenzie Bridge. The Food Pantry provides nutritious food, including fresh produce and protein, to local households. Part of the support will involve supporting food drives to help fill the Food Pantry’s shelves, she said.


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