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Governor visits new AllCare building

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown opened her first public appearance in Grants Pass on Friday with a plea in the wake of the police sniper shootings that occurred the night before in Dallas.

"This violence must end. It's incumbent on all of us to work together to create a world of justice and equality for all," said Brown, the former Secretary of State who stepped in last year when John Kitzhaber resigned. She's running for election this fall.

State Rep. Duane Stark's prayer also touched on the violence, before the regular program commenced — the unveiling of AllCare Health's plans to build a second facility at its new headquarters in northeast Grants Pass, and celebrating the growth of the giant coordinated care organization.

A 45,000-square foot building at Northeast Hillcrest Drive and Seventh Street will be done by December, with more than 150 employees moving in with jobs in insurance and technology, along with doctors and other health jobs.

On Friday a rendition of a second building, this one about 21,000 square feet, was unveiled. Josephine County's Public Health department may occupy the first of three floors, pending approval, while the rest will include doctor offices.

That's all part of AllCare's holistic approach to community health care, in addition to being the provider for Oregon Health Plan patients for many years.

The organization, which began two decades ago as the Mid-Rogue Independent Physician Association, serves Jackson, Josephine, Curry and southern Douglas County, and has a network of 1,500 health care providers with more than 54,000 members from multiple health plans.

"Having them co-locate in the same building will make it easier for families to find the preventive health care they need," said Brown, who was invited to appear by AllCare CEO Doug Flow. "Access to health care is critical to the vitality of communities around the state."

Project builder Aaron Ausland of Ausland Group said his company helped AllCare purchase other properties going up the hill to the east, for more growth in the future.

"This is clearly anchoring this end of town, as another hub of health care in Grants Pass," Ausland said.

The second building will mirror the first with the style of brick. The new headquarters now nearing completion features a dramatic concave front facing the intersection of Seventh and Hillcrest.

Construction cost for the two buildings is $21 million.

Stark said AllCare's influence in the community is for the good, citing, citing as examples AllCare's assistance with a homeless shelter and the new Grants Pass Sobering Center.

"If something good is happening in Josephine County, then AllCare is connected to it," he said.

Some folks were more interested in the governor than the ceremony.

Bonny Babcock of Grants Pass walked right up to Brown when she arrived and introduced herself.

"She asked me what brought me out this morning and I said 'You,'" Babcock said. "I always wanted to meet her. I admire her a lot. She's very smart and I believe she's honest. And she's a female."