NCNM Campus Update – July 7, 2009

NCNM, otherwise known as “Portland’s Best-Kept Secret,” can soon retire that longtime label. The campus is moving at warp speed toward an exciting—and “friendly”—future. June brought many dramatic changes at the new NCNM Clinic work site and clinic staff is still right on track for its Aug. 18-24 move-in dates.

Highlights from the month of June: We demolished, removed and even recycled what was left of one of the existing structures onsite with a flourish. Inside the new clinic, five skylights were installed, the drywall is up, and offices and treatment rooms exist in what had been cavernous space just last month. The large industrial building, blessed into being last Halloween by students, staff, faculty and friends, is now taking shape as Oregon’s largest natural health clinic. Painters are applying color top to bottom inside and preparing to paint the clinic exterior. We moved our two clinical operations into one temporary space, and NCNM is beginning to lay out its plans for a private Patient Opening and a Grand Opening. Whew!!

Painting by numbers
Speaking of paint, there was a slight glitch with the exterior color palette. The original color plan had been to match the colors of the clinic to the colors of the academic and administration buildings in tones of terra cotta red and cream. The college invited one and all within the community to weigh in and pick the top two colors from the selected palette. After the fact, it was discovered that exterior reds turn into exterior pinks in short order! (Check out the handrails on the Hawthorne Bridge…).

Miller Paint, the company generously donating all the paint for the project, is supplying NCNM with a no-solvent, state-of-the-art paint-sealant, called STO. STO specializes in manufacturing ecologically sound and innovative products, including paint products based on “bio-mimicry,” (mimicking things in nature). For example, when STO product is applied to a surface, it mimics water on a lotus leaf, which beads up and away from the surface. Applied with paint on the exterior of our new clinic, the grime and dirt build-up from the nearby expressway will simply wash away with a Portland rain. It’s also sustainable, with a life span of 10-15 years. It only has one limitation. It’s not recommended for dark colors. The bottom line for NCNM is an exterior color palette that is reversed from the original plan: a putty-cream colored building, with terra cotta trim.

Good-Bye Pettygrove, Hello Natural Health Center
The Pettygrove Clinic staff saw its last patients and closed the clinic doors forever, but not without a heartfelt ritual of gratitude and blessing.

Hours before graduation on June 29, a small group assembled in Pettygrove’s lobby, to be led in a closing ritual by NCNM Chair Nancy Garbett and former Pettygrove receptionist (now Natural Health Center assistant) Fran Paulman. Staff, faculty, students, NCNM board members, Dr. Schleich, and special friends from Seroyal (an NCNM Program Partner), among others, all offered parting words of gratitude and blessing for the Pettygrove Clinic. In ceremony, the group took the “tapestry of ending,” a page of handwritten likes, dislikes, teachings and more from our Pettygrove experience, wrapped it around a stalk of yarrow, and, blessed by the four elements, ritualistically burned the past—asking to release the “teachers” and keep the “learnings,” as NCNM moves into its future.

Moving on at Natural Health Center
One would imagine that moving two clinic operations into one temporary, confined space might produce angst and confusion, but NCNM’s students, staff and faculty are showing the sturdy (and healthy) stuff they’re made of. According to Dr. Jill Stanard, interim director of Clinical Operations, “Even with recent staff turnover, the move has gone incredibly smoothly, thanks to the unbelievable support of folks throughout NCNM.” Dr. Stanard especially wants to thank Astrid Harmon (clinic billing), Tashi Rana (campus reception), and in particular, Shannon McCartor (patient services manager), who masterminded the move down to smallest details, ably assisted by Fran Paulman.

“We’re a little squeezed, but everyone—faculty, students and staff—has been exceptionally kind, gracious and respectful with one another. We’re in a pretty challenging situation, suddenly being thrown together in a tiny space until the new clinic is finished in August. I’m so impressed and grateful to everyone for their forbearance,” Dr. Stanard added.

The good vibes must be doing something: Dr. Stanard reports that clinic visits are increasing and the place is buzzing with energy.

Grand Opening
Discussions have begun to plan a Grand Opening celebration for our new clinic. More about that in the next Update!

Check out our Web site for more info and construction photos! Stay tuned for more developments in upcoming installments of the NCNM Campus Expansion Update.