As a retired primary care physician, I spent my career caring for families and understand the importance of local, reliable health care and senior care. In our rural community, local health care options are extremely limited, and when they are available at all they often require a 45 to 60 minute drive to Tillamook, Seaside or Astoria. Time and time again I’ve spoken to neighbors who have lost their local care, are unable to find a primary care provider, or are forced to drive to the Portland area for routine primary care and specialty care alike.
The dream of retiring on the north Oregon Coast is often dashed when health challenges force residents to relocate to a larger city for primary, specialty or assisted care. Two senior care facilities were lost last year and a new center with trained staff is critical for local residents who now have no local options for assisted care.
In addition, the year-round population as well as median age in north Tillamook county is increasing, and seniors require increasing health care services. Renovation of the existing health center, pharmacy and Nehalem Valley Care Center is crucial to providing this much needed care now and in the future. The current buildings are old and inadequate for quality health care as well as safe and up-to-date working conditions for staff.
Finally, a YES vote will also contribute to the much-needed lack of affordable workforce housing for health care workers in the area, as the bond issue will facilitate collaboration with a non-profit or other housing developer for construction of this type of housing.
Please join me in voting YES to preserve and improve quality health care for everyone of all ages in our community.
Fred Kassab, MD (retired)