New Billi Odegaard Clinic opens for clients, shows the power of partnerships

Friday, 11/16/12 - 2:24 pm

Multnomah County dentists began seeing patients at the new Billi Odegaard Dental Clinic on Wednesday, Nov. 14.

The clinic at Central City Concern, 33 N.W. Broadway, is the first permanent safety net dental clinic in downtown Portland for people who lack housing or have very low incomes.

Up to 1,500 clients a year are expected to receive dental care at the clinic. Most people are on the Oregon Health Plan and receive their care through CareOregon or Capital Dental.

To find out if you can access the clinic, visit the county's dental clinic web page.

The clinic features five dental chairs for full dental services. And it is the first of Multnomah County’s six dental clinics to use an electronic dental record system.

“This system will help ensure quality dental care is provided to our clients,’’ said Health Department Director Lillian Shirley

The clinic is named for the woman Shirley followed as Health Department director, Billi Odegaard. Odegaard is a retired public health nurse who believed in community partnerships to stretch every dollar.

The $950,000 clinic was built in partnership with Central City Concern and CareOregon, which provided the equipment. Providence Partners in Health and the late Portland philanthropist John D. Gray also made significant contributions.

More than 60 people gathered at a grand opening celebration on Friday, Nov. 9 where Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen, Central City Board Chair Dean Gisvold, Commissioner Deborah Kafoury and Shirley all made remarks. Billi Odegaard toured the clinic and was thrilled with the caliber of staff and equipment.

Shirley said in this time of tight budgets, the clinic demonstrates the old proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”