Mental health clinic planned for site of former downtown Burger King

From Portland Business Journal, December 9, 2009

Central City Concern, a community health clinic in Portland, will build a $12.5 million mental health clinic on a blighted block of downtown that previously housed a Burger King.

The high-profile site, near Sixth Avenue and Burnside Street, is owned by a California bank. Central City Concern will buy the site with the help of an $8.9 million federal grant announced Wednesday.

The money is part of a $600 million federal allocation for construction and renovation projects at 85 community health centers nationwide.

Central City Concern plans to tear down the former Burger King and replace it with a two-story building that will connect with a residential facility it owns immediately to the west.

The former Burger King shares a property line with Central City Concern’s $18 million housing and clinic facility at 8 N.W. Eighth St. The 12-story building with 180 units of housing for recovering addicts, as well as clinic space, opened in 2004, not long after Burger King shut down. It was constructed in 1978.

Central City Concern still needs to raise $3.5 million to fund the project.

The clinic will allow the organization to see 1,350 more patients annually. It will close a facility at 12th Avenue and Alder Street as part of the plan.

The project will create 111 construction jobs and should be complete within two years.

The federal money will also help health clinics adopt Electronic Health Records and other Health Information Technology systems.

The money comes from the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“Together, these three initiatives — funding for construction, technology and a medical home demonstration project — won’t just save more money, and create more jobs, they’ll give more people the peace of mind of knowing that health care will be there for them and their families when they need it,” said President Obama. “Ultimately, that’s what health reform is really about.”