Pinnacle Building Houses Elite Bend Medical Specialists


Back in 2005, Dr. Ida Alul, Dr. Patricia Buehler, Dr. Michael Mastrangelo, Dr. Jean Verheyden, Dr. Ryan Gallivan, Dr. John Murphy, Dr. Peter Palacio, and Dr. C. Christian Friess bonded together to develop a new facility that would house their practices, InFocus Eye Care, Bend Surgical Associates and Central Oregon ENT, respectively, in one location.

A new facility would give the partners ownership of their respective offices, drastically cutting overhead expenses, which many independent health care professionals say is the name of the game when it comes to turning a profit in that industry.

The group founded Bend Surgical Partners LLC and in August of that year they began looking for a suitable piece of property that would be easily accessible by patients and not isolated from Bend’s medical community.

After reviewing several available pieces of property they settled on a 3.77-acre lot just south of the St. Charles Medical Center campus, which was owned by a couple of different land trusts at the time. It was at this time that Dr. Robert Quinn of Mountain View Cosmetic Surgery also joined the LLC, Bend Surgical Partners Operations Director Lesli Cate said.

“We purchased the land and then began researching a builder,” Cate said. “We wanted to go with a design-build firm that had experience with medical offices and settled on Marshall Erdman & Associates. Once we had the builder and all of our clinics in place, we started our pre-analysis to figure out who needed what space, pulled it all together and went to contract.”

Cate makes the process sound simple, but in reality construction on what would eventually become the $10.2 million Pinnacle Building — 37,149 square feet of medical practice space didn’t begin until March 2007 but was completed by February 2008, and includes the Cascade Café.

A look inside the Pinnacle Building

When the eye surgeons at Infocus Eye Care set out to design their new offices at the Pinnacle Building their focus was clear.

Dr. Ida Alul and Dr. Patricia Buehler wanted their patients to have a warm and welcoming environment, coupled with the latest technology available in the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases.

They designed Infocus Eye Care to complement the feel of the Pinnacle Building —elegant, yet comfortable, with plenty of natural lighting. Patients find themselves treated to a soothing atmosphere with soft, neutral colors and a boutique optical shop where they can browse for the latest styles in glasses and sunglasses while they wait.

“We want our patients to look forward to their eye care visits,” Dr. Alul said.

Knowing that many people are apprehensive about going to see their doctor, Dr. Alul and Dr. Buehler wanted to provide a beautiful and comfortable space with a friendly, knowledgeable staff.

“Our goal is to figure out what the patient’s visual needs are and supply them with the latest options for achieving their goals,” Dr. Buehler said.

For some people the answer is new options in contact lenses, including bifocal lenses.

“We are having great success reducing people’s need for reading glasses with contact lens options for distance and near,” said Dr. Winter Lewis, the newest member of the Infocus team and a contact lens specialist.

For those who prefer glasses, the Infocus optical boutique has a vast array of fashionable eyewear, and now many of the available eye glasses are manufactured on site.

“We can get people their glasses in a much more timely fashion because we have invested in state-of-the-art equipment to make the glasses here, and we can solve problems with prescriptions quickly,” Dr. Alul said.

For those who want to reduce their need for glasses and contact lenses, Dr. Alul offers state-of-the-art Customvue wavefront LASIK surgery, performed on-site at Infocus.

When it comes to medical and surgical conditions of the eye, Drs. Alul and Buehler have many years of experience. For many eye diseases early detection is critically important.  A thorough eye exam and specialized testing help diagnose glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts in their early stages.  If treatment is initiated early, people can avoid or reduce vision loss.

Cataracts are one of the leading causes of poor vision in the U.S. More than half of people 65 and older have cataracts. A cataract is a “clouding” of the eye’s natural lens which can interfere with a person’s quality of vision and make normal activities such as driving a car at night or reading a newspaper increasingly difficult. In the early stages of a cataract, stronger lighting and eye glasses may lessen vision problems caused by the clouding of the lens.

Unfortunately, cataracts are progressive and cannot be prevented.

When cataracts mature to the point of interfering with an individual’s ability to perform daily tasks, surgery may become necessary to restore vision to 20/20.  Cataract surgery has undergone tremendous technological advances in recent years.  It is a highly effective procedure and one of the safest and most commonly performed.

Each year nearly 3 million cataract surgeries are performed in the U.S.  For most patients cataract surgery is a relatively simple operation that usually takes less than 15 minutes in an out-patient setting. Patients spend just an hour or two at the surgery center. The surgery is virtually painless and often eye drop anesthesia is all that is needed to numb the eye. Most patients see well within a few days.

Historically, the only lens implant choice doctors and patients had available were monofocal lens implants that correct only distance vision.

“Now the person having cataract surgery has several lens options to choose from,” Dr. Buehler said.

New lens technologies include UV protection and aspheric technology that offer better quality of vision than previously available. There are new lens implants that correct or reduce astigmatism.

Even more exciting is the option of multifocal lens implants that can provide a full range of vision — near, intermediate, and distance — and greatly reduce the need for glasses. Multifocal lenses allow patients to read text on prescription bottles, magazines, and newspapers, while also providing the ability to see items at a distance. The new lenses are not for everyone.

“Some folks are not a candidate for the lens if they have other eye diseases or too much astigmatism,” Dr. Alul said.

In addition, patients may also see small halos around headlights at night. Patients need to discuss with their doctor the best option for them and their visual needs.

According to both Dr. Alul and Dr. Buehler, “As physicians it is very rewarding to offer these new technologies to patients to help improve and prolong their vision, and to do it in such a beautiful setting just enhances the patient’s experience.”

Dr. Ida Alul and Dr. Patricia Buehler contributed to this article.

Developers: Bend Surgical Partners, LLC

Practices: InFocus Eye Care; Eyewear InFocus; Central Oregon Ear, Nose and Throat; Physicians Hearing and Balance Center; St. Charles Medical Center Laboratory Outpatient Center; Bend Obstetrics & Gynecology; Oregon Reproductive Medicine; Bend Surgical Associates; Gestroenterology of Central Oregon; Mountain View Cosmetic Surgery; Northwest Medi Spa Laser Center.

Project Cost: $10.2 million

Sitework Start: March 2007

Completion: February 2008


Marshall Erdman & Associates

P.O. Box 44975

Madison, Wisconsin 53744-4975

Square Footage: 37,149

Amenities: Café, two patios, one terrace

Financing: Bank of the Cascades

Project Managers: David Solonycze, Senior Project Manager, Marshall Erdman

Lesli Cate, Operations Director, Bend Surgical Partners

Architectural and Engineering Services: MEA1, Inc.

Principal Architect: Craig Olson, Senior Project Architect

Project Superintendents: Gary Kirk and Gene Holman

Project Foreman: Rick LeBlanc

Structural Engineer: Amy Misener

Civil Engineer: Justin Zampardi

Electrical Engineer: Mike Daugrid

Interior Design: Christina Robotka

Exterior Building Design: John Meyer

HVAC Engineer: Mark Springer

Subcontractors & Suppliers:

Evergreen Cleaning Services, Inc.; Latham Excavation; B&R Gardens & Landscaping; Ogden Construction; Butch’s Masonry; REFA Erection, Inc.; J-V Design; Stedman Sheetmetal, LLC; Eagle Roofing Company; Bend Commercial Glass; DeeMor Associates, Inc.; BPM Plastering; Jackson Ceiling Systems; Mountain Tile Company; David P. Marquess; Chapman Painting; Delta Fire Protection; Knight Mechanical; Cascade Heating & Specialists; Gowdy Bros. Electric.


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