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Health & Medicine

White Bird Clinic Expands Medical Services at Oregon Country Fair

Angela Kellner/KLCC

With tens of thousands of people gathered together in one place, there’s bound to be a few medical issues.
The Oregon Country Fair has health care covered this weekend, thanks to Eugene’s White Bird Clinic.

From heat stroke to an actual stroke, health care professionals are ready to spring into action across the sprawling Country Fair site.

“Hi, I’m Wren Arrington is the Medical Crew Coordinator for the White Bird Clinic at the Oregon Country Fair.”

Arrington’s the one responsible for putting together the all-volunteer crew that includes doctors, nurses, paramedics and mental health specialists. He’s been doing it since 1995. The fair contracts with White Bird to provide on-site medical care.

“The money that we receive from our fair contract goes to fund our free and sliding scale services in town. So it’s a service in its own right and it’s also a fundraiser.”

At the fair, White Bird operates out of a booth near the Main Stage. But a few years ago when the fair opened the new area, Zavanadu, Arrington says they had to adapt.

“We decided that we needed another medical station out at this end of the fair as our population on the ground has increased. So we opened up this annex. Last year it opened and we had teams that were using as a base to roam out of so that we could respond to this part of the fair more quickly.”

But Arrington says people were coming up to the booth seeking care and it wasn’t fully equipped to handle it. So they worked with fair management to open the White Bird annex, known as Little Wing.

“We will not have as many services or resources as our main hospital booth down by the Main Stage has. We’ve taken to calling that Big Bird. But we will have everything we need to provide an advance life-support level of care so that we can take care of someone who has a traumatic injury or someone who is having a cardiac event, as well as basic first aid.”

But Arrington says they can’t grow too quickly.

“One of the reasons we’re growing incrementally is that it takes a while to recruit medical staff and crisis workers and have them sort of become enculturated in the way we do things out here, which can look kind of different than their day jobs.”

Hopefully none of the expected 45,000 people will need health care at the fair, but if they do, Wren Arrington has full confidence in the White Bird Medical volunteers.

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