The Early Years
In 1947, Drs. Fred Asbury, Kurt Aumann, and Robert Marcum founded The Corvallis Clinic. Drs. Asbury and Marcum had only just visited the town the year prior but thought it was a perfect place to set up shop. They purchased the medical practice of Dr. N. L. Tartar in downtown Corvallis above the J.C. Penney’s store and were neighbors to a young engineering firm that was later to be called CH2M.
Drs. Asbury, Marcum, and Aumann desired to provide the highest quality medical care to the community. They believed this could best be accomplished by having each physician trained and certified in a medical or surgical specialty. Since 1947, The Corvallis Clinic has carried on this legacy of excellence and high-quality medical Care by providing primary, specialty, and immediate care services.
The Marcum, Asbury, and Aumann medical partnership became very busy, and it was clear that they needed additional doctors. With the decision to expand, they also agreed that all physicians in the partnership should be board-eligible specialists and be required to complete residencies.
Dr. Marcum and Dr. Asbury completed their residencies, and three new doctors joined the practice. Dr. Lynd Folts, a pediatrician, joined the practice in 1948. Dr. Delbert Smith, who had completed some surgical and obstetrical training, joined the practice in 1948 and later completed his OB/GYN residency. In 1949, Dr. James Riley joined the practice after completing his residency in Internal Medicine. By 1950, all partner physicians were eligible for specialty board certification.
It wasn’t until 1950 that The Corvallis Clinic was established in name after the three other physicians joined. They had previously not considered a particular name for the practice, so they used their names. One evening, at a Good Samaritan Hospital medical staff meeting, Dr. James Riley referred to the medical partnership as “The Corvallis Clinic,” and the name stuck. On July 1st, all partners drafted and signed a formal partnership agreement to claim the name The Corvallis Clinic. This cemented The Corvallis Clinic as the leader of specialty care in the mid-Willamette Valley.
By 1950, The Corvallis Clinic had grown considerably, requiring too much time and attention from the physicians as they attempted to manage the business in addition to practicing medicine. Finally, the doctors decided it was time to employ a business manager. In May 1950, Arthur H. Allen was offered and accepted the position. Allen became the first administrator of The Corvallis Clinic. He held the position until his retirement in 1973.
The Corvallis Clinic’s First Medical Home
In March 1952, The Clinic’s first permanent home was built on the corner of 27th and Tyler in Corvallis. It housed eight physicians, a new laboratory, an x-ray department, and a new pharmacy. The popularity of The Corvallis Clinic was undeniable. By 1954, they were expanding the building to include Ophthalmology and Urology and making room for a Medical Reference Library. The library proved invaluable, and by the 1980s, The Corvallis Clinic’s medical library was one of the largest in the state and served as a resource to Oregon State University.
The building was again expanded in 1962. By the end of the 1960s, The Clinic was home to over 25 physicians, and their specialties had grown to include Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Otolaryngology, Nephrology, Rheumatology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Ophthalmology, Cardiology, and Ear, Nose, and Throat.
Today, that original building still serves the community and houses the Benton County Health Department.
The Construction of The Corvallis Clinic’s Main Campus
The Corvallis Clinic occupied its original building until July of 1978 when The Clinic moved into its current main hub known as the Asbury building. The relocation of The Corvallis Clinic to its home on the north side of town coincided with Good Samaritan Hospital’s move to the same location. After Good Samaritan purchased 83 acres of land on the North end of town, the hospital and The Clinic reached an agreement on a 100-year lease. This included the new clinic building and long-term operation on Good Samaritan’s land.
Construction began in the Fall of 1976 and was completed in July 1978. The practices have always been intertwined, and the leadership of The Corvallis Clinic found it valuable to have Good Samaritan nearby. By this time in 1978, The Corvallis Clinic had grown to over 30 practicing physicians with over 130 support staff.
Establishing Immediate Care
During the mid-1970s, Dr. Craig Leman became concerned about patients who experienced sudden but non-life-threatening illnesses. At the time, many practices were missing a middle ground between the Emergency Room and scheduled appointments.
Immediate Care was born when Dr. Leman began devoting one day a week to patients without appointments, and it was an instant success. Other physicians followed suit, and The Clinic quickly realized it would need to devote more resources to the issue.
By 1981, The Clinic had created its full-time Immediate Care department, which has grown considerably over the 40+ years since its inception and still serves the community today.
The Corvallis Clinic’s First Female Providers
Although there had been female physicians in the Corvallis area for some time, there had never been a female physician practicing at The Clinic. That all changed in January 1984 when Dr. Laura Rung, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, joined The Corvallis Clinic. Approximately six months later, Dr. Cecilia Keller, a neurologist, joined The Clinic. Both doctors stayed with The Clinic for decades; Dr. Laura Rung retired after 35 years in 2019, and Dr. Cecilia Keller remained until 2020, retiring after 36 years.
Although many other female physicians subsequently were brought on to The Clinic staff, Drs. Keller and Rung paved the way for all that followed.
Expanding Beyond Corvallis
The Albany Expansion
By the early 1990s, about 15% of Corvallis Clinic patients commuted from Albany, and the practice wanted to better serve its patients throughout the mid-Willamette Valley. Instead of expanding on its own, The Clinic thought it best to integrate with the office and talents of Dr. H. Dan Moore in Albany- a longtime physician of the area.
Dr. Moore became the first physician in The Clinic’s history to operate outside Corvallis. Over the next few years, more physicians joined the Albany Family Medicine practice. The Clinic eventually left Dr. Moore’s previous office and built what is now The Corvallis Clinic at Waverly Drive.
The Philomath Expansion
Further looking to serve the mid-Willamette Valley and reduce commutes for existing patients, The Clinic looked toward Philomath. The Clinic used an existing relationship with Philomath Family Medicine to negotiate a merger completed in 1993. The building was remodeled and doubled the space to expand the practice further.
The mergers of The Corvallis Clinic with Albany Family Medicine and Philomath Family Medicine solidified The Corvallis Clinic as a leader in local healthcare.
Expansion of the Main Corvallis Campus
The Clinic continued to grow, and the first tipping point toward expansion after the move to the Asbury building was in 1994 with the purchase of the old Elks Lodge across the street. Hiring the same architect that helped with the Asbury building, The Corvallis Clinic renovated the Elks Lodge building and moved part of its practice in. What once housed a bowling alley, dance floor, and full bar is now home to a few of The Corvallis Clinics specialty departments and all of the Administration team. Today, we know this location as the Aumann building.
The Corvallis Clinic’s Clinical Research Center
In November of 1997, a group of physicians at The Corvallis Clinic began developing a Clinical Research Center. What started with a $40,000 grant and a seven-person team has become a pillar of The Corvallis Clinic, allowing them to help serve communities worldwide. The Corvallis Clinic has participated in more than 100 research studies, assisting the world’s doctors in investigating new treatments and medical practices.
The Clinic has assisted with research for many vaccines, including pneumonia, shingles, meningitis, and the flu. The Corvallis Clinic was even involved in clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine, a moment that an employee described as her “proudest moment in 20 years of research.”
The Mid-Willamette Valley’s First Outpatient Surgery Center
In 2007, The Corvallis Clinic became the first medical facility in the mid-Willamette Valley to have an outpatient Surgery Center. For decades, specialists at The Corvallis Clinic had to refer patients to neighboring medical facilities for surgeries, creating headaches for patients and doctors. The Clinic had long hoped to keep surgery patients in-house to uphold and guarantee the quality healthcare they had gained a reputation for providing.
In continued dedication to its patients and community, The Clinic opened its Outpatient Surgery Center in 2007. This greatly relieved the strain on healthcare in the mid-Willamette Valley, reducing wait times on specific procedures by up to two months in some cases. The Clinic could now keep patients under their roof, avoiding the headache of constant referrals. The specialties that immediately utilized the Surgery Center were Orthopedics, Gastroenterology, Gynecology, Podiatry, Urology, and General Surgery.
In 2007, The Corvallis Clinic had over 80 providers, 600 employees, and 140,000+ patients that they saw 260,000 times yearly. This meant that expansion was needed- again!
In Fall 2008, The Corvallis Clinic opened its second Albany location at the North Albany Village. Expanded services for Albany patients were an urgent need at the time, and the new site helped reduce patient commute and wait times.
In 2009, The Clinic leased additional space at Walnut Boulevard and began renovating the Aumann building while relocating departments to their new homes within The Clinic. This meant four expansions in four years for The Corvallis Clinic.
In 2014, The Corvallis Clinic recognized an additional need within the community for a sort of “routine health maintenance.” Primary care physicians within The Clinic had hectic schedules and couldn’t often meet with patients at a moment’s notice. As a result, The Clinic opened its first CareNow facility on Monroe Ave, directly across the street from Oregon State University. Unlike traditional doctor’s offices, the CareNow facility was entirely staffed by nurse practitioners and certified medical assistants, limiting care to minor injuries, mild illnesses, checkups, physicals, and immunizations.
This practice allowed patients a quick and affordable way to meet a medical professional to care for simpler medical needs. CareNow has since changed its name, opened two locations, and shuttered two. Now called QuickCare, the last location opened in Albany in 2016 and is still seeing patients.
In 2018, The Corvallis Clinic opened a new facility called The Corvallis Clinic at North Albany. It was built across the street from the old North Albany Village location. The new facility doubled its square footage compared to the North Albany Village location. This expanded spaces for Primary Care, Integrated Behavioral Health, and Sleep Medicine departments.
Taking on the COVID-19 Pandemic
As the COVID-19 pandemic began, The Corvallis Clinic doctors, nurses, and other essential staff were at the forefront, taking challenges head-on to provide excellent patient care. Healthcare workers as a whole were shaken and stressed. All elective surgeries were postponed, cutting into much of the services The Clinic offers. The devastation of COVID-19 cannot be understated. However, it forced The Clinic leadership, providers, and staff to look inward and figure out how they could best serve patients and continue to meet their needs.
The Clinic did all in its power to flatten the curve and solve issues related to the pandemic. Telemedicine was rising, and many appointments were scheduled to be virtual, where possible. The Clinic provided the first drive-thru testing site in Corvallis. The Clinic’s Research Center even assisted with testing a COVID-19 vaccine.
Celebrating 75 Years
2022 marked a tremendous milestone for The Corvallis Clinic- 75 years of serving the mid-Willamette Valley! When the Founders started The Corvallis Clinic, they probably never imagined it would have the reach it does 75 years later. As of 2022, The Clinic has approximately 100 providers and over 500 staff members. What began as a single location in 1947 has now expanded to 10+ locations. What once was three providers with minimal specialties has now grown to 25+ specialties that serve the ever-changing needs of patients with excellence.
2022 brought much growth to the organization. The leadership teams were spurred on toward personal and departmental growth mindsets, and many remodels and department changes took place. The Corvallis Clinic may have 75 years under its belt, but the best is yet to come.