Construction Begins on New Cancer Center

CMH-OHSU Knight Cancer Collaborative Breaks Ground in Astoria

Group photo in front of digging equipment at groundbreaking ceremony.ASTORIA, Ore. – Teamwork and collaboration among competitors was the resounding theme at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new cancer care center.

The crowd of more than 250 people cheered as the CMH-OHSU Knight Cancer Collaboration broke ground on the 19,000-square-foot comprehensive cancer treatment center and specialty clinic in Astoria, Ore., on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016. The project will expand on Columbia Memorial Hospital’s existing chemotherapy treatment services, and bring much-needed radiation therapy services to the North Coast.

It will allow cancer patients to receive more treatment close to home, in an optimallyhealing environment. This partnership is the first of its kind for OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and will provide the Columbia Pacific Region with convenient access to the most advanced care available.

“This is an incredible day for CMH and our local community”, said Erik Thorsen, CEO of Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH). “This new cancer center will offer patients the best treatments available in a facility designed with their needs in mind, which is part of CMH’s Planetree philosophy. The expanded medical oncology services and new radiation therapy services will make the cancer treatment journey easier for residents of the North Oregon Coast.”

Currently, CMH’s cancer treatment services benefit about 300 patients per month. Local cancer patients who require radiation therapy currently must travel at least an hour outside of Astoria to receive treatment, five days a week for up to eight weeks.

“We are thrilled about this collaboration and the opportunity to expand cancer services in Astoria.” said Ann Raish, vice president of oncology services at the OHSU KnightCancer Institute. “We look forward to working together to ensure patients in the region benefit from the most advanced cancer care services available and as close to home as possible.”

As part of the expansion, CMH/OHSU Cancer Care Center’s medical director Knight Cancer Institute medical oncologist Jennifer Lycette, M.D., will be joined in the practice by a radiation oncologist and other cancer care providers. In cooperation with physicians from the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, these local providers will offer patients a full complement of cancer care treatments.

“Some patients simply can’t travel long distances to receive radiation therapy, which can limit their treatment options and chances of beating cancer. By being able to provide radiation therapy in Astoria, I believe we’ll see more people in our area surviving this devastating disease,” said Dr. Lycette, medical director of the CMH/OHSU Cancer Care Center.

If a patient requires more specialized cancer treatment than is available, CMH will coordinate a seamless transfer of care to a physician at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute in Portland while also helping patients navigate their ongoing cancer care at the new Center in Astoria.

The center is being designed by PKA Architects. The construction team includes general contractor P&C Construction and project managers Al Jacques and Mike Day, of Day CPM Services. Construction is expected to be completed in fall of 2017.

For information on how you can support this project, contact the CMH Foundation at 503-325-3208.

About Columbia Memorial Hospital: Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH) is a full-service, 25-bed, critical access, not-for-profit, Level IV trauma center in Astoria, Ore. CMH has 12 clinics and a host of ancillary services. It has earned the distinction of being a Planetree Patient-Centered Care Designated hospital. CMH has served the people of the Lower Columbia since 1880.

About the Knight Cancer Institute: The Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University is a pioneer in the field of precision cancer medicine. The institute’s director, Brian Druker, M.D., helped prove it was possible to shut down just the cells that enable cancer to grow. This breakthrough has made once-fatal forms of the disease manageable and transformed how cancer is treated. The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center between Sacramento and Seattle – an honor earned only by the nation’s top cancer centers. It is headquarters for one of the National Cancer Institute’s largest research collaboratives, SWOG, in addition to offering the latest treatments and technologies as well as hundreds of research studies and clinical trials. For additional information on the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

A Brief History

CMH and OHSU’s Clinical Partnership

Aug. 3, 2010
CMH/OHSU Cancer Care Center opens in a temporary location in the CMH Health & Wellness Pavilion. OHSU Medical Oncologist Robert Raish, MD, served as medical director of the program and saw patients two days per week.
Jan. 2011
Astoria Development Commission awards CMH and OHSU a $300,000 urban renewal grant to help pay for tenant improvements in the Park Medical Building.
Oct. 18, 2011
Grand opening of the CMH/OHSU Cancer Care Center’s new 4,200-square-foot facility in the Park Medical Building. The new facility combined medical oncology and infusion services in one space. The project was a collaborative effort between Columbia Memorial Hospital, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, Dr. Sonny Park, and the City of Astoria. CMH Auxiliary Volunteers provided 10 infusion chairs and Clatsop Community College Art Department and local potters donated art for the center. The CMH Foundation raised $185,000 for the project.Added an additional provider, expanding medical oncology services to be available three days per week.
Sept. 2013
Jennifer Lycette, MD, joins the CMH/OHSU Cancer Care Center full time. She takes over from Dr. Raish as the Center’s medical director.
May 9, 2015
CMH and OHSU announce the expansion of the CMH/OHSU Cancer Care Center. The CMH Foundation launches a $3 million capital campaign.
June 2016
CMH Board of Trustees approves moving forward with bond sales (6/2). City of Astoria Health Care Facilities Authority reviews and approves bond documents (6/6). Bonds offered for sale (6/22). $18.8 million in bonds sold, $13 million will go to Cancer Center project (6/29).
June 17, 2016
Activity begins at construction site.
Aug. 4, 2016
CMH-OHSU Knight Cancer Collaborative hold official groundbreaking ceremony for the new 19,000 square-foot cancer center. Staff will grow to include another medical oncologist and a radiation oncologist as well as mid-level providers. Services will grow to include radiation therapy and PET imaging.
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