NCNM Officially Opens New Min Zidell Healing Garden

PDC Exec Patrick Quinton to Speak at Grand Opening

PORTLAND, Ore. (June 14, 2011) — National College of Natural Medicine will celebrate the opening of its new Min Zidell Healing Garden, the most recent addition to its rapidly growing South Portland campus on Friday, June 24 at 10 a.m. Patrick Quinton, executive director of the Portland Development Commission, along with other special guests, will participate in the public celebration of the new botanical garden, a virtual outdoor classroom for students to learn about herbal medicines. The grand opening ceremony is open to the public.

The Min Zidell Healing Garden is a $150,000 gift to the medical college by South Portland’s Zidell family, named to honor Min Zidell, the family’s 87-year-old matriarch, a noted Portland philanthropist and longtime patient of naturopathic medicine.

The 11,000 square-foot garden, located just west of the Ross Island Bridge, is adjacent to the NCNM Clinic, which opened in September 2009.

The planning for the Min Zidell Healing Garden began in 2009 when Portland firm Drake’s 7 Dees Landscape & Garden Center won the landscape contract for garden construction. Drake’s 7 Dees brought in prize-winning landscape designer Vanessa Gardner Nagel, APLD, to oversee planning and planting of the garden’s unique garden design in conjunction with NCNM’s expert herbalists on faculty, Dr. Glen Nagel, and Dr. Paul Kalnins, LAc.

The garden includes a combination of unusual hardscape and landscape elements surrounding more than 500 botanical and ornamental plants. Drake’s 7 Dees Landscape & Garden Center, along with several other local and regional landscape companies, donated many of the plants in the garden.

NCNM President David J. Schleich, PhD, said, “NCNM’s Min Zidell Healing Garden will be a living legacy—a classroom for generations of NCNM students in the years to come. Mrs. Zidell shared with her family the value of philanthropy, which has enriched a number of Portland institutions. NCNM is blessed and honored to be among the fortunate recipients of the Zidell’s civic generosity.”

Schleich said that the highly unusual garden is meant to serve as a classroom and a sanctuary, providing beauty and tranquility within NCNM’s urban campus. He noted that the garden design embodies the philosophical spirit of NCNM’s naturopathic and classical Chinese medicine programs. “This wonderful gift allows NCNM to open our campus to the greater Portland community—offering our neighbors and visitors an oasis of tranquility right in the heart of the city.”

The garden’s entry is marked by graceful curved slate walls and wrought-iron gates that open to a series of concentric circles featuring a labyrinth and a $40,000 teahouse pavilion donated by Sokenbicha, an unsweetened botanical tea beverage brand, which is partnering with NCNM on educational ventures for its students. Schleich said, “With a brand heritage rooted in the traditional Japanese Five Elements Theory, Sokenbicha understands what NCNM is all about. We are delighted to have their support through the donation of the Sokenbicha Tea House and other college initiatives.”

The centerpiece of the Min Zidell Healing Garden is a bronze statue of ancient Chinese physician Sun Simiao which has an estimated value of $100,000. The statue was donated by Huo Baozhu, who gave the City of Portland in 2002 a full-size reproduction of the Shang Dynasty bronze elephant statue, now located in the North Park Blocks.

Phase two of the garden construction, slated for completion in the 2012-2013 academic year as the nonprofit college completes additional fundraising for the garden, will include a greenhouse, a raincatcher trellis and the completion of NCNM’s “Green-Brick Road”—an inscribed-brick pathway originating in the garden that will extend throughout NCNM’s 4.31-acre campus.

Founded in Portland in 1956, NCNM is the oldest accredited naturopathic medical school in North America. A nonprofit college of natural medicine, NCNM offers four-year graduate medical degree programs in Naturopathic Medicine and Classical Chinese Medicine. Its community clinics offer low-cost medical care throughout the Portland metropolitan area, and along with the campus-based NCNM Clinic, practitioners attend to approximately 40,000 patient visits per year. NCNM’s Helfgott Research Institute conducts rigorous evidence-based research to advance the science of natural medicine and improve clinical practice. Until July 2006, NCNM was known as the National College of Naturopathic Medicine.

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