January 26, 2022 03:45

The City of Roseburg will soon strengthen its commitment to a proposed Southern Oregon Medical Workforce Development Center in time for the start of the 2022 state legislative session.

A city statement said late Monday that Roseburg City Council has approved the negotiation and completion of an updated agreement with the nonprofit Umpqua Valley Development Corporation by the Roseburg City Manager, which sets out the city’s commitment to a project to address the growing shortage of health professionals and medical training programs. in rural Oregon while boosting the region’s economy.

The statement said Messenger and UVDC are expected to sign the agreement, known as the memorandum of understanding, before the Oregon state legislature begins its short session on Tuesday.

An effort to build and open a medical training center in Roseburg has been underway for at least a decade. CHI Mercy Health first recognized a severe shortage of healthcare workers, especially in rural areas, in 2012.

City work on the proposed community project dates back to at least 2013. That’s when city council agreed to spend $30,000 on a feasibility study. In early 2019, the board also approved $25,000 for an economic study of the proposed training center. Later that year, the Legislature approved $10 million in state lottery bond funding for construction, and UVDC was formed to oversee the project.

The release says the project was in the midst of a collaborative process managed by Portland State University’s Oregon Solutions when approval for state lottery bonds was withdrawn due to pandemic economic projections. of COVID-19. He has been suspended since November 2020.

Under the updated agreement, the City would be willing to act as owner or co-owner of the center after its construction. It would also be willing to serve as a grant recipient or fiscal agent for state-authorized funding and provide matching funding of up to $10 million through bond and/or loan programs.

The selection of sites and academic partners has yet to be determined.

Milton S. Rodgers