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News / Business / Clark County Business

Fisher House on Vancouver VA campus nearly complete

It will serve families of veterans treated at Portland-area facilities

By Tom Vogt, Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter
Published: January 28, 2016, 5:58am
4 Photos
Jeff Wickline prepares a doorway area for painting Tuesday morning at the Fisher House. He works for Sabelhaus West Inc., a painting contractor based in Silverdale.
Jeff Wickline prepares a doorway area for painting Tuesday morning at the Fisher House. He works for Sabelhaus West Inc., a painting contractor based in Silverdale. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

A house is starting to look like a home.

The new Fisher House is nearing completion on Vancouver’s Veterans Affairs campus, with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting set for Wednesday, March 23.

It will be a home away from home — provided at no charge — for out-of-towners whose veterans are being treated at Portland-area VA medical facilities.

It will be a homelike environment where families “can be near their loved ones as they recover,” Joanne Krumberger, director of the VA Portland Health Care System, said at the ground-breaking in September 2014.

The facility is being built by the Fisher House Foundation. Since 1991, the nonprofit group has built more than 60 houses near military and VA medical centers across the country. At the dedication, the house will be given to the VA Portland Health Care System. Value of the donation is estimated at $6 million.

Update

 Previously: The Fisher House broke ground on Sept. 19, 2014.

 What’s new: Work is about 90 percent done.

 What’s next: Ribbon-cutting will be at 1 p.m. March 23.

Vancouver is part of the Portland VA system. Since the Vancouver campus has a lot more open space than Portland’s campus adjoining Oregon Health & Science University, a site just across from Clark College on Fort Vancouver Way was chosen for the site.

“It is approximately 90 percent complete,” Dan Herrigstad, regional VA public affairs officer, said earlier this week at the VA Portland.

At 13,400 square feet, the home will have suites for 16 families. It is expected to provide free lodging for about 500 families a year.

The Portland VA medical system serves veterans from across the Pacific Northwest, and it’s a national referral center for veterans who need liver and kidney transplants.

Most of the medical treatment is done on the Portland VA campus, but regularly scheduled shuttles transport people between Portland and Vancouver.

There currently are two Fisher Houses in Washington. One is part of the Puget Sound VA system in Seattle; the other is at Joint Base Lewis McChord near Tacoma.

Two other projects

The Fisher House is one of three highly visible projects on the Vancouver VA campus. The others:

• Freedom’s Path at Vancouver is a 50-unit housing community for homeless and disabled veterans. It is under construction on 1.3 acres of a former parking lot adjacent to the campus entry at 1601 E. Fourth Plain Blvd.

The project is about 70 percent complete, said Craig Taylor, with Communities for Veterans. The Florida-based developer anticipates a ribbon-cutting in late July or early August.

The price tag is about $13 million.

• A new primary care clinic is being built southeast of the county’s Center for Community Health, just south of the Fourth Plain Boulevard entrance. The site previously was used as a transit stop. The project will cost $8.2 million.

At 21,600 square feet, it will be twice as large as the current primary care clinic. Completion is expected within about 16 months.

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Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter