White Bird buys buildings with plans to expand services

The White Bird clinic in Eugene buys buildings with plans to expand services, Nov. 1, 2018. (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. -- The White Bird Clinic in Eugene is ramping up for its biggest expansion of services in many years.

A big part of the new plan is expanded space for emergency dental services.

Great economy notwithstanding, managers at the clinic say the recovery has bypassed a lot of people - people living on the edge who need basic medical services.

Program directors say they have a plan to meet that need.

This year to date, Eugene dental clinic at White Bird has seen nearly 2,000 patients, but managers say the demand for service is much higher.

“More chairs mean we can see more people,” said Ben Meyer, D.D.S. at White Bird Clinic. “It means we can do more treatment and help more with major problems.”

White Bird directors tell us the current clinic on Mill Street is too small and they want to shift services to a building at 14th and Pearl.

“Right now, this is our opportunity,” said White Bird Administrative Coordinator Ben Brubaker, “to expand our dental services, decrease wait times and be able to see more people every year.

In turn, that dental space will be remodeled.

“Once dental moves, the space will be open for remodeling the current dental clinic and creating White Bird's medical urgent care,” said White Bird Outreach Director Chris Hecht.

Hecht says they've invested about $300,000 to buy the 14th and Pearl building and space on West 7th.

“That becomes like a separate part of the expansions that we're currently doing,” Brubaker said, to expand White Bird's outreach for crisis services.

Fundraising is just getting started to reach the $3 million goal.

With 30-40 percent of their clients having not seen a dentist in 5 to 10 years, Meyer says they have a huge job to do. “Infections and inflammations in the mouth lead to heart disease and all sorts of problems.”

For Brubaker, it's simple; meet a person's basic medical and dental needs, “then that's going to help people get the kind of support that they need to transition and get into a better space in their own life.”

Hecht says White Bird hopes to move into its expanded crisis service center by late April and have the new dental clinic open next June.

There’s no estimate, though, on how long it will take to remodel the current dental center to use for urgent care needs.

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