Visionary Cancer Center Unveiled on Bend Campus



$12.9 million St. Charles project delivers complete care close to home.

A long-cherished vision of consolidating key medical services in one location has been realized with the unveiling of the new $12.9 million St. Charles Cancer Center in Bend, while the community’s continuing support is being canvassed for one final push towards meeting the last $400,000 of the project’s capital campaign fundraising goal.

Designed from the ground up with patient, family, staff and community input, the 16,000 square-foot facility’s focus is on taking a true patient-centric approach to treatment with everything – from oncology and radiology to “patient navigation” support and evidence-based complementary therapies – housed under one roof.

The scope of the project, constructed by Howard S. Wright and designed by Portland-based ZGF Architects, included renovating the existing radiation oncology wing and constructing a new medical oncology wing for chemotherapy services, survivorship programs and exam rooms. Previously, services were split between two locations about a mile apart.

“Building an integrated cancer center where patients receive all of the care and services they need in one location is a crucial step toward improving the health of our community,” said Dr. Linyee Chang, medical director of the St. Charles Cancer Center. 

“Cancer care starts with community education, screenings, diagnosis, treatment, recovery and long-term survivorship. This facility encompasses it all.”

Previous facilities were straining to keep pace with demand and operating at full capacity, so the building of the new state-of-the-art integrated center is also seen as vital in preparing to meet the community’s future needs.

According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly one in two people will be diagnosed with some sort of cancer during their lifetime, and in Central Oregon cancer volumes are expected to increase 50 percent by 2025.

The center will serve close to 250,000 people in a service area that spans across Central Oregon and includes Lakeview, Burns, John Day, Chemult, Mitchell and Heppner.

John Jepson, senior philanthropy officer of the St. Charles Foundation – the philanthropic arm of the St. Charles Health System that exists primarily to raise community support for SCHS – said the benefits of a comprehensive facility had been touted for a number of years, leading to the conducting of a feasibility study in early 2012 which discovered significant, widespread support for building an integrated cancer center and supporting the patient navigator program. Based on the findings, the Foundation board of directors voted unanimously to move forward with a capital campaign, co-chaired by Todd and Lorri Taylor (of Taylor NW) and Dr. Chang, seeking support for advancement of such services at St. Charles, widely recognized as a valued community-based asset.

The Foundation launched the campaign to raise $5.7 million toward the overall budget to support construction costs and the patient navigator program, while SCHS indentified the project as a top priority and committed the remainder of the funds out of its capital expense budget.

Jepson added, “Our motto is complete cancer care close to home, and the journey towards realization of this project is a tribute to the true partnership forged between the community and the health care system.”

The environment created within the new center is being lauded as a true place of healing – both “high tech and high touch” – where research, technology and human interaction come together in a collaborative effort of medical excellence.

The center was designed and developed with input from caregivers and patients. Floor-to-ceiling windows along one wall of the upper level medical oncology room offer chemotherapy and other infusion patients a healing, peaceful panoramic view during their treatment. Exam rooms have separate entrances for patients and staff, so that patients have a direct route via sliding glass doors, with little congestion in the hallways. Work areas for physicians, nurses and other patient care support staff are located in an open, central area where the entire team can communicate easily and better coordinate care, meaning the “hustle and bustle” of daily operations is separated to accentuate a calmer environment for patient interaction. 

“Thoughtful care and planning have gone into every inch of this facility to ensure our patients receive the best possible experience from the moment they walk through the doors,” said Allison McCormick, director of cancer services for St. Charles. 

“Cancer survivors wrote well-wishes on index cards that were placed inside the walls. Patients and caregivers signed one of the main support beams with positive thoughts for all those who will be treated here. You can feel the positive, healing energy in each and every room.” 

In addition to the patient care features, the building is decorated with soothing colors and natural materials. The exterior contemporary look is enhanced by use of sustainable materials such as Resysta siding – seen as an innovative, durable and attractive alternative to wood, composed of primarily rice husks along with common salt and mineral oil pressed into boards – and Oko, skin concrete slat cladding.

Art is also displayed throughout the facility including a tile mural by Sisters artist Kathy Deggendorfer in the main entry. A healing garden also being constructed in an area fronting the center has been named in honor of Sister Catherine and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Tipton to celebrate their longtime legacy of caring in the community.

In 1917 the Sisters of St. Joseph arrived in Bend to establish health care for the entire community, guided by the belief, “We will care for all or we will care for no one,” and in 1975, with Sister Catherine Hellman as CEO, St. Charles Medical Center opened.

Emotional and spiritual support is seen as an important part of the cancer journey alongside the most advanced medical care and the healing garden aims to enhance cancer treatment “by using the healing power of nature to nurture the heart and soul.” Commemorative engraved garden bricks or river rocks can also be purchased, and donors’ generosity can be honored through messages of inspiration and support.

Regarding the outpouring of support from the community for the cancer care project, St. Charles Foundation Executive Director Lisa Dobey said, “We all tremendously benefit from the wonderful community in which we live. Our community has committed to raising $5.7 million to support this program and $5.3 million has already been contributed.

“This campaign isn’t just about a building. It’s about giving you, your family and neighbors the opportunity for world-class cancer care right here in Central Oregon. It’s not too late for people to come forward and invest in this cancer center and become a part of that legacy of caring.”

Many local businesses have pledged support for the project, with community fundraising contributions helping toward construction of the new facilities and patient navigation services – which involves nurse navigators supporting patients throughout their cancer journey. 

From initial diagnosis through treatment and into survivorship, navigators are the resource when questions arise. They coordinate complicated specialty care and assure the patient’s emotional and spiritual needs are addressed, and navigators are seen as a critical member of the patient’s care team, working closely with physicians, nurses, therapists, surgeons and others to orchestrate the best care and patient experience possible.

The navigation assistance is part of the overall philosophy for the Cancer Center to bring together research, technology and guidance to deliver the highest quality patient care – both physically and emotionally – and enhance patient-centered care coordination, improve accessibility, provide leading-edge treatments and offer personalized patient support for patients facing the challenging diagnosis of cancer.

Howard S. Wright Senior Project Manager Bret Matteis said, “We are excited to be a part of creating this new facility; to understand how it will be appreciated and what a difference it will make to the community. “It has been an extremely rewarding project to work on, and a tribute to a great team effort featuring the professionalism and dedication of all involved.”

The new medical oncology wing has been named the Les Schwab Medical Oncology Wing to honor former Crook County resident, grandmother and philanthropist Margaret Schwab Denton in appreciation of a $1 million gift from her family and Les Schwab Tire Centers.

It is named in memory of Denton – one of two children born to Les and Dorothy Schwab – who died in 2005, at the age of 53 after a two-year fight with colon cancer.

The adjacent renovated wing has been named the “Picchetti Family Radiation Oncology Wing” to also honor the Pichetti family’s generous contributions to SCHS and health care in the community. 

St. Charles Health System, Inc., headquartered in Bend, owns and operates St. Charles Bend, Madras and Redmond, and leases and operates Pioneer Memorial Hospital. It also owns family care clinics in Bend, Prineville, Redmond and Sisters. St. Charles is a private, not-for-profit Oregon corporation and is the largest employer in Central Oregon with more than 3,400 caregivers. In addition, there are more than 350 active medical staff members and nearly 200 visiting medical staff members who partner with the health system to provide a wide range of care and service to the region’s communities.

As the philanthropic arm of St. Charles Health System, the Foundation works to support and improve health care in Central and Eastern Oregon. Private donations raised by the Foundation allow St. Charles to build new medical facilities, purchase state-of-the-art medical equipment, keep pace with the latest technological advances and deliver exceptional patient care in a healing environment. The Foundation does more than just raise money for bricks and mortar. The organization also raises money to support many programs that benefit low-income and uninsured patients.


2500 NE Neff Rd., Bend, OR 97701


Property Owner/Developer: St. Charles Health System

Contractor: Howard S. Wright Construction, Portland, Oregon

Project Cost: $12.9 Million

Sitework Start: June 2013

Completion: August 8, 2014

Square Footage: 24,747

Financing: $5.7 million to be raised by the Foundation, the remainder funded by St. Charles Health System 

Project Manager: Bret Matteis, Howard S. Wright Construction 

 Supervisor: Rob Ring, Superintendent, Howard S. Wright Construction

Project Engineer: Melissa Burns, Howard S. Wright Construction

Architect: ZGF Architects LLP

Principal Architect:  Doug Morris, AIA Associate Partner 

Structural Engineer:  Froelich Engineers, Michael  Peterson, PE, SE Associate

Civil Engineer:  HWA Engineers, Grant Hardgrave

Mechanical Engineer:  PAE, Richard Rowell, PE Mechanical

Electrical Engineer:  Sparling, Mike White 

Landscaping: ZGF Architects LLP,  David Grant, Associate Partner

Subcontractors and Suppliers: A36 Steel Erect, Advanced Fireproofing, Baldwin Steel Fabrication, Bell Hardware, Bend Commercial Glass, Bend Painting, Dannick Doors/Hardware Install, Eagle Roofing, Engineered Products (Lockers), Fabulous Floors, Foxhoven Masonry, Interior Technology, Intuitive Fire, Lets Construction Cleaning, MacDonald Miller, Oregon Cascade Plumbing, PCI, Pioneer Sheet Metal, Sawtooth Caulking, Ogden Concrete, Taylor Northwest, Thyssen Krupp, Tomco Electric, Varner Construction


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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