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At 50, White Bird Is Growing...Along With Demand For Its Services

Brian Bull

Expanded walk-in services and a telephone crisis line are part of White Bird Clinic’s new crisis center being developed near Eugene’s Whiteaker neighborhood.

Two workmen are building the foundation for a new ramp at a renovated facility off of West 7th.  This site allows White Bird to increase its reach to west Eugene and western Lane County, while offering a safe space designed to minimize triggers for trauma victims.

Chris Hecht is the clinic’s Executive Coordinator. He says their dental program is going to expand its patient base by moving into a new building as well.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Chris Hecht, executive coordinator for the White Bird Clinic.

“Once dental moves, that opens up space and our medical clinic will be able to develop an urgent care walk-in, which is something that we’ve been hoping for, for years.”

Hecht says they’ve used their reserves to cover the expansion, which should be done in July.  A fundraising campaign for $350,000 will help cover remodeling costs.

All of this, says Hecht, is to meet growing demand for services.

“White Bird has a track record of identifying need, responding quickly, and serving the need," he tells KLCC. "In this case what we’re doing, is we’re leveraging existing, successful programs by expanding them, so that we can quickly ramp up and be able to do more for more people.”

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Two CAHOOTS workers return to their vehicle after checking out calls of a disturbance.

Additionally, the latest City of Eugene budget will enable the CAHOOTS mobile crisis intervention service to extend its hours and geographic outreach.

Hecht says last year, White Bird staff recorded more than 13,000 client encounters, diverted over 600 emergency room visits, and served roughly 2,000 homeless people.

Copyright 2019, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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