In a fitting move during an open house celebration Tuesday afternoon at Philomath Family Medicine’s new location on the west edge of town, Dr. Lorri Hendon and retired Drs. David Grube and Dave Cutsforth participated in a ribbon-cutting.
The three individuals have strong connections to the clinic’s former building where patients received their health-care services for nearly 46 years.
“This clinic has been so important to the community,” said Hendon, who has worked for the local clinic since 1995. “I live here, I raised my kids here, I’ve worked here, and to be able to serve families through all the generations and see one generation following another has been an incredible privilege.”
Grube and Cutsforth had been sent to the community through the National Health Service Corps and were in place when the clinic opened in October 1977. They later bought the practice and building, and continued until their retirements in 2012.
Philomath Family Medicine merged with The Corvallis Clinic in 1993.
“To know that this building is here and it’s going to stay here and our practices are going to continue to serve the community, it really gives me a sense of joy and confidence in the future of the town,” Hendon said moments after cutting the ribbon.
Grube and Cutsforth look back fondly on the old building, which originally opened all those years ago as a clinic and pharmacy. Last year, they celebrated its 45th anniversary.
“I had an appointment last week to see Dr. (Lauren) Gray and I turned into the old place and didn’t come here,” Grube laughed. “I was an automatic pilot for how many years.”
Cutsforth also utilizes Philomath Family Medicine with Dr. Shawn Foley as his physician.
“Somebody said, ‘Are you disappointed that you didn’t get to move into this new office,” Cutsforth said. “I said, ‘Forty-six years ago we got to move into a new office so no, I’m not disappointed. I’m excited for them.’”
The building at 500 Main St., was constructed in 2017 as a manufacturing facility, restaurant and taproom and after its closure, a wood-finishing business occupied the space for a stretch. Work was done to renovate and expand the building to 7,600 square feet.
“I love the way it turned out — the colors really pop and it really gives the room for growth to really care for the community,” said James Kaech, chief executive officer for The Corvallis Clinic. “Every inch of the building is used and it’s really exciting to see it all come together.”
Philomath Family Medicine opened its doors last month to patients with a soft start, Kaech said.
Seven providers are currently working out of the site — Drs. Curtis Black, Hendon, Gray and Foley, Adrian Egger (integrated behavioral health), Kat Dunleavy (physician’s assistant) and Cassandra Brown (nurse practitioner). In addition to Hendon, another doctor who has worked in Philomath for several years is Foley, who started locally in 1998.
Kaech said the clinic has room to grow with possibly one more provider to come in.
Asked about what amenities or services that the clinic offers, Kaech talked about his admiration for The Corvallis Clinic’s team approach to providing health-care services.
“We’ve added some ACPs (advanced clinical practitioners) or nurse practitioners and physician assistants to really help provide care as part of a team,” Kaech said. “We have a variety of people they can see and not just one (provider) so if they’re gone, they still have access to care.”
The building provides nicer accommodations not only for patients but also for the roughly 20 employees.
“You really need to have flow, so it’s easy access in and out and really creates an environment where the teams have a place to work as a group in team-based care.”
The new location has on-site lab services, which was also available to patients at the old location but there were privacy issues with its location in the middle of a hall. There are no X-ray services, something that had been available at the former building once upon a time but not over the past several years.
Mike Davenport, director of infrastructure and project manager, said even though the building is in use, work continues to complete it.
“We still have some small things to do, we still have some landscaping to do,” Davenport said, specifically pointing out a “memorial grove” that will be going in as a place to relax and reflect as well as honoring key donors.
Several community leaders were in attendance at the open house and ribbon-cutting event, including Mayor Chas Jones.
“I am so excited to see Philomath Family Medicine moving into this amazing building that has been sitting at the end of the road for a number of years,” Jones said. “Economic development and getting local businesses in Philomath is something that’s super important.”