(Update: Adding video, comments from Deschutes County)
'We serve everyone pretty much, at one point or another'
REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- With Deschutes County's population still growing, the need for local and reliable health services grows as well.
Deschutes County Administrator Tom Anderson said Monday a county services center in Redmond is needed.
"We've discovered over the years that as the population of Redmond and north county has grown, we have a disproportionate number of our workforce, especially in health services, here in Bend,” Anderson said.
He said the county's recent $2.45 million purchase of two buildings on NW Kingwood Avenue, just south of St. Charles Redmond, is long overdue and will create a "north county campus."
"A couple years ago, we began to dissect specifically where our customers live,” Anderson said. “And we discovered very graphically that many of them who live in the north county must have to travel to Bend for service, so it just made sense to pull the trigger now."
The buildings are currently medical offices for Bend Dermatology and Northwest Foot Care.
Anderson said it's going to be a phased process over the next two years, to allow the existing tenants enough time to relocate.
Anderson said the 37,462-square-foot north county hub will provide primarily medical services, including mental health counseling, behavioral and public health.
"Generally, lower-income families and individuals, although we serve everyone pretty much, at one point or another.” Anderson said.
He said the goal is to give people with health situations and emergencies a shorter travel time.
"The idea is to spread out our workforce, to better match up where our population resides and reduce significantly the number of trips people have to take from Redmond down to Bend,” Anderson said.