Columbia Memorial Hospital

Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria is expanding.

For the first time publicly, Columbia Memorial Hospital revealed details Thursday about a significant expansion and renovation.

The Astoria hospital, which is one of Clatsop County’s largest employers with about 750 staffers, plans to build a new facility and remodel the existing hospital on the campus off of Exchange Street.

CMH Rendering

A site plan rendering of Columbia Memorial Hospital's expansion.

The design includes about 180,000-square-feet of new construction, which will include an expanded emergency department, renovated operating rooms, larger patient rooms, radiology services, a new chapel and dining facilities.

The new facility is also expected to provide a resilient structure that can be used following natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis.

The hospital is planning a phased construction beginning in the fall of 2024 to allow a continuation of services.

“Our current facility is over 45 years old and has served us well,” Erik Thorsen, Columbia Memorial’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “However, in the last decade, CMH and (Oregon Health & Science University) have launched many new service lines, and we have simply run out of space to grow.

“This expansion of the CMH campus will allow us to broaden the scope of our services and ensure state-of-the-art care throughout the organization. The new facility will be designed in a manner consistent with our Planetree philosophy of person-centered care and will include new equipment, diagnostic services and specialties often found only in larger institutions.”

Columbia Memorial declined to disclose the estimated cost of the project, but said funding will come primarily from new debt, cash reserves, philanthropy and grants.

The hospital said it would share more specific details about the project as plans are developed and hold several community open houses over the course of the work.

Columbia Memorial has hired Portland-based ZGF Architects to design the new facility and Skanska USA as the general contractor.

Astoria has contracted a planner to focus on the expansion. Winterbrook Planning, a Portland-based consulting firm, will help with land use planning issues and requirements for the project.

The firm will report to the city and represent the city’s interests, according to an agreement approved by the City Council in September. The hospital will reimburse the city for all costs.

Dr. Robert Holland, president of the hospital’s board of trustees, said the expansion is one of the final parts of the board’s long-term strategic plan that began in 2010.

Other milestones included the hospital’s partnership with Oregon Health & Science University, the acquisition of John Warren Field and the opening of the CMH-OHSU Knight Cancer Collaborative in 2017.

“This new, modern hospital facility will continue to allow our community to seek the best care locally for generations to come,” Holland said in a statement.

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