On Monday, the Roseburg City Council and the Roseburg Urban Agency Board met for their regular council meeting. One item on their agenda was to discuss $5 million in grant funding for the Southern Oregon Workforce Development Project.

With the millions just waiting to be accepted, and the City of Roseburg willing to serve as the grant recipient or fiscal agent for state-authorized funding, the grant monies mean a new medical center is closer to becoming a reality in Roseburg.

The city will soon reinforce its commitment to a proposed Southern Oregon Medical Workforce Development Center in time for the start of the 2022 state legislative session. This effort will help to build and open a medical training facility in Roseburg that has been underway for at least a decade.

A new updated agreement between the city and the nonprofit Umpqua Valley Development Corporation is set to address rising shortages of healthcare professionals and medical training programs in rural Oregon while boosting the region’s economy.

“This agreement just reiterates the council’s support for bringing the medical college to Roseburg,” said Roseburg City Manager Nikki Messenger.

City work on the proposed community-based project dates at least as far back as 2013 when the city council OK’d spending $30,000 on a feasibility study.

In early 2019, the council also approved $25,000 for an economic study of the proposed training center. Later that year, the Oregon Legislature approved $10 million in state lottery bond funding for construction and UVDC was formed to oversee the project. CHI Mercy Health first recognized a severe shortage of healthcare workers, especially in rural areas, in 2012.

“The council has authorized accepting the money. We’re just waiting for our turn to get the agreement signed,” said Messenger. “It is too early to tell if we will be asking the city council to consider participating financially and to what extent.”

The City of Roseburg has the option to match this grant funding through bonding or loan programs.

The process is slow when dealing with an organization as large as the State of Oregon. In the 2022 legislative session, the legislature approved hundreds of grants. The city simply has not received an agreement with the state yet.

“It’s a huge step forward for the project and we’re really excited about it,” Messenger said.

The project was in the midst of a collaborative process managed by Portland State University’s Oregon Solutions when state lottery bond approval was withdrawn because of economic projections from the COVID-19 pandemic. The project has been on hold since November 2020.

This process is still in the planning and no site for the future medical center has been chosen as of yet.

Sam Temple can be reached at stemple@nrtoday.com.

or 541-957-4217

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(2) comments

Huge bbfan

Sounds like the railroad reload yard they were going to build in Ontario Oregon, new jobs, boon to the economy 🤔.

Oh, by the way, after 10 million dollars and many many lined donors pockets, that project was abandoned.

BetsyC

We definitely need more folks trained in the medical field. However let's make sure the needed affordable housing for the students and their families is built so they don't further impact the housing crisis we are in. It should be a requirement of any development of this school.

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