PORTLAND — An idea that had been kicked around for almost two decades became more than an idea last month with the opening of Gateway Grace Clinic, a dental clinic operated by Portland Adventist Community Services (PACS).
The new 1,800 square-foot facility, at 1424 N.E. 109th Ave., is in renovated space that used to house an acupuncture clinic. Opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 9, the clinic is located on the same block as PACS, which is at 11020 N.E. Halsey.
Founded in 1963 and affiliated with Seventh-day Adventist churches, PACS is a faith-based effort by staff, volunteers, donors, prayer partners, and community partners who provide food and a variety of low-cost services to low-income individuals in the Portland Gateway neighborhood.
The new dental clinic fits well into the PACS mission, as it provides comprehensive dental care to low-income adults for a nominal fee. Eligible patients must be at least 18 years of age, unable to qualify for the Oregon Health Plan and unable to afford private dental insurance — up to 300 percent of the federal poverty limit.
Katie Linfoot, PACS development associate, explained the clinic’s name: “Besides its location being in the Gateway community, we hope that our patients will experience gracious service and feel honored and valuable.”
She said discussions about starting the clinic began in 2001, but that fundraising didn’t start until 2013. She said it cost about $700,000 to establish the clinic, with about $300,000 for the building and renovations.
Joining churches in helping raise the money and meeting equipment needs were the Adventist Oregon Conference, Adventist Health, Newberg-based dental manfacuturer A-dec, Generations Retirement Community, and anonymous donors of $50,000 and $63,000 respectively. Grants also came from Prosper Portland, The Oregon Community Foundation, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Kaiser-Providence Clinic Initiative, and Vera L. Smith Charitable Foundation.
The clinic includes the lobby and reception area, a doctor’s office, consultation room, sterililzation and X-ray rooms, three dental operatories, a break room, a restroom and two rooms planned in the future to be used for vision care.
Dental services currently offered at the clinic include routine cleanings as well as fillings. “Crowns and dentures will be coming soon as we are working out the extra cost to us from the dental lab,” said Linfoot.
One volunteer dentist will be in the clinic at a time; three volunteer dentists have signed up thus far. “We are always needing more volunteer dentists,” said Linfoot. “For us to be open three days a week we would need 12 volunteer dentists.”
Carol James, dental manager, met Sue Wilson, the clinic’s first patient and a prayer partner, last summer at Impact Your Health Portland, a special health care event.
“Sue needed more than emergency care — as most people do. The Gateway Grace Clinic is striving to meet those needs,” said Linfoot.
For more information, phone 503-907-6768 or go to www.pacsonline.org/pacs-dental-clinic/