NCNM Campus Update – May 20, 2009

A Campus in Transformation
NCNM is changing and we want all of Portland to know! If you drive past NCNM’s new clinic property, you can’t miss the enormous banner announcing “Portland’s Largest Natural Medicine Clinic.” There’s lots of activity going on inside and outside the new clinic building. A quick drive-by will reveal that the parking lot has been graded in preparation for laying asphalt, pouring walkways and creating landscaping plots. In the very near future, you’ll also note work crews power washing the building’s exterior, preparing it for fresh, new paint. Paint for the entire project, interior and exterior, has been generously donated by Miller Paint and is non-VOC.

The other major focus of activity outside the new clinic is the soon-to-be demolished “west wing.” Originally, the structure’s walls were to be taken down this month, but when close examination revealed asbestos on the roof, demolition was postponed to ensure safe and compliant asbestos abatement. (It turns out that our new clinic, like other buildings built in the 1960’s and 1970’s, regularly sprayed on an asbestos fire protectant to build a fire barrier for the building.) We’re waiting to hear more from R&H and will update you as soon as we learn when the walls will come down. If we can coordinate schedules, NCNM Board of Directors Chair Nancy Garbett and several other members of our board will take turns posing atop the bulldozer for photos. After taking a couple of well-aimed shots at the walls with a sledgehammer a few weeks ago, Dr. Schleich is eager to point some heavy equipment in that direction. We’ll notify you in advance if this photo-op plan is successful in case you’re interested in witnessing a special moment of NCNM history-in-the-making.

To capture this moment in time, we’ve arranged to have some aerial photos taken during a helicopter fly-over later this month. Normally the cost involved in aerial photography would be prohibitive, but as luck would have it, the photographer is shooting for several clients the same day, which lowers our cost to bargain-basement prices. Not only will the photos be of archival value, but they’ll also provide Dr. Schleich and Advancement VP Susan Hunter with fantastic fundraising tools. Potential donors will be able to see work-in-progress and the footprint of our expanding campus within the South Waterfront context. We’ll let you know in advance when to expect a low-flying helicopter once the date has been confirmed.

Laying the Groundwork
Inside the building, all the walls have been removed and the concrete floors sanded. Soycrete, a soy-stained concrete material, is being applied to floors on both levels. This surface is ideal for lab, medicinary and treatment rooms and is easily maintained. Its warm, brown tones will complement the carpet, which will be laid in hallways and the lobby area as the remodel nears completion. As the soycrete application is finished, framing new walls begins.

Our IT department is hard at work planning a secure, wireless connection within the new building. It will be HIPAA compliant, of course, with a high-speed connection to the academic building in the works.

Clinics on the Move
With our Pettygrove Clinic lease up at the end of June, Pettygrove operations will move into the Natural Health Clinic for a few weeks until the move into the new building. Dr. Stanard has painstakingly created a workable plan for combining CCM and ND shifts at 1st Avenue during the interim. We’re keeping patients informed and involved in the transition, which will help minimize the loss of clients during the move.

Transportation

In addition, we’re negotiating with Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to install new direction signage around campus and to connect Naito Parkway and Porter Street for incoming traffic. This exciting development would permit northbound drivers on Naito to turn right onto Porter, providing a safe, convenient point of access to campus. You’ll hear more about this as plans are finalized.

On April 8, Dr. Schleich led a small but vocal NCNM contingent in giving testimony before the Portland City Council in support of the funding proposed transportation changes to the North Macadam Urban Renewal Area, where NCNM resides. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) proposal was not only approved – it was approved unanimously! For you inveterate NCNM history buffs, a live video feed was made of the meeting, and you can watch it by going to the City of Portland’s Web site here. (The NCNM testimony begins about 55 minutes into the meeting and lasts for about 11 minutes; you’ll need Flash to watch it.)

Together, the ODOT and PBOT improvements will go a long way toward helping NCNM ensure safe and easy access to the campus.

Check out our Web site for more info and construction photos! Stay tuned for more developments in upcoming installments of the NCNM Campus Expansion Update.