Kaiser coming to Keizer

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By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

City of Keizer officials have confirmed Kaiser Permanente will be building a medical clinic in the Keizer Station area.

Mayor Lore Christopher hinted at the news during her State of the City Address on June 11. During the address, Christopher said within 90 days she would be able to announce two big business decisions that would “rock our community.”

The community didn’t have to wait nearly that long for the first.

On June 19, Christopher posted the news under the banner “Coming in late 2014…” on her Facebook page.

“We expect Kaiser Permanente to build a 20,000 (square foot) clinic which will include dental, lab and prescriptions,” the mayor wrote. “The clinic will employ over 10 dedicated physicians and a staff of 50 medical support staff. The clinic will be in Area ‘A’….tucked into the open area adjacent to the grassy knoll and directly south of Panera Bread.”

Keizer City Councilor Cathy Clark said she was at a SEDCOR luncheon with Christopher on Wednesday when Kaiser Permanente officials made the announcement. Messages left for Kaiser Permanente officials by the Keizertimes have not been returned.

“It was simply a statement they would be coming to Keizer,” Clark told the Keizertimes on Thursday. “That was the gist.”

In an interview with the Keizertimes on Thursday, Christopher noted Kaiser Permanente serves about 55,000 patients per year in the area.

“To have that available in this city is huge,” she said. “Our location is so darn good, in a short time it will be a heavily used clinic. It will draw from all directions, since it will be so much easier to get to.”

Clark greeted the news warmly.

“I think it’s great,” she said. “It’s the kind of higher end, high wage, permanent jobs, the kind of office and medical type of jobs we know are complimentary to Salem. I’m very pleased they’ve decided to build here and be part of our business community.”

Christopher said several medical services companies have expressed interest in building clinics in Keizer. Silverton Hospital was the first to announce last month, with a 10,000 square foot clinic being built in the Inland Shores area. That clinic is expected to be open by January.

“All of them have expressed interest, but Silverton Hospital pulled the trigger first,” Christopher said. “This is a perfect fit, to have Kaiser Permanent be the second one. I think more will come. I think you’re going to see more medical support businesses come to town now. It shows extreme confidence in our city, our policies and especially in our location. There’s no better location than Keizer.”

Nate Brown, director of Community Development for Keizer, is still waiting to see plans and permit applications for a clinic.

“They haven’t applied for anything that I know about,” Brown said June 20.

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