Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Oregon)

Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Portland VA) is a 160-bed, acute care medical facility in Portland in the U.S. state of Oregon.[1] Opened in 1929, it is located on Marquam Hill adjacent to Oregon Health & Sciences University, and is connected to Oregon Health & Science University Hospital via a skybridge. The original hospital was replaced in the 1980s and had a capacity of up-to 478 beds.

Veterans Affairs Medical Center
(Portland, Oregon)
United States Department of Veterans Affairs
US Department of Veterans Affairs vertical logo.svg
Portland Veteran Affairs Hospital - Oregon.JPG
Location3710 SW US Veteran Hospital Road, Portland, Oregon, United States
Coordinates45°29′49″N 122°41′01″W / 45.49707°N 122.6836°W / 45.49707; -122.6836Coordinates: 45°29′49″N 122°41′01″W / 45.49707°N 122.6836°W / 45.49707; -122.6836
Care systemVeterans
TypeAcute care
ListsHospitals in Oregon


The University of Oregon Medical School's regents (now Oregon Health & Science University) donated land on Marquam Hill in 1926 to what is now the Department of Veterans Affairs.[2] The property was to be used to construct a veterans hospital, with construction starting in February 1928.[3] Offices opened at the new facility in November 1928, and patients were transferred to the new hospital in December 1928.[3] In 1932, an administration building opened, followed by 13 quonset huts from 1946 to 1948 following World War II.[2] The last addition to the old campus came in 1949 when a 155-bed tuberculosis hospital opened.[2] The Portland VA started working with the adjacent medical school in 1946 on joint programs.[4]

The Veterans Administration announced in May 1976 that a new hospital would be built in Portland.[5] A local group formed in 1980 to fight construction, and went to court in 1981 to try to stop the project.[5] A new building was finished in 1981 in order to move some operations away from the planned location of the new hospital building.[2] The suit was eventually dismissed in October 1981 by judge Robert C. Belloni, and in January 1982 the design of the new building was unveiled as construction started.[5] The new building was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership (now ZGF Architects LLP), with W.B. Bateson Co. serving as the general contractor.[6]

Construction ended in September 1987 on the main building, and it was dedicated in November 1987.[5] In February 1988, the new $136 million facility opened to patients on Marquam Hill after a 364-day delay in construction,[6][7] and demolition of the old buildings started in May 1988.[5] When the new facility opened, it had a capacity of 478 beds, but never had staffing to operate at full capacity, and as of 1990 only used 399 beds.[8] The final phase of construction was a $11.7 million, 413-space parking garage built starting in 1990.[9]

In 1992, a 660-foot (200 m) long pedestrian bridge linking OHSU Hospital and the VA Hospital opened.[10][11] The $7.4 million bridge is the longest of its type in North America.[10] Due to staffing problems the VA closed its emergency room at night in April 1994.[12]

Due to budget cuts, the facility announced 150 layoffs in June 1996.[13] At that time, the hospital's budget was $140 million,[13] which grew to $192 million in 2000.[4] In July 2006, the hospital opened a new $3.7 million, 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) center for hearing disabilities.[14] The Portland VA served 33,000 patients in 2000,[4] 51,000 patients in 2004,[15] which grew to 80,000 in 2012.[1]


Front of the facility

Services at the 160-bed medical center's campus include primary care, radiology, speech and language pathology, social work, prosthetics, rehabilitation, emergency care, a pharmacy, and laboratory services, among others.[1][16] The acute care medical center is accredited by The Joint Commission,[17] and has approximately 80,000 visitors annually.[1]

The 127.77-foot (38.94 m) main building has nine stories above ground plus a penthouse, and two underground floors.[18][19] The steel and concrete high-rise building has a total of 684,985 square feet (63,637.2 m2) of space.[19] Overall, the campus has 1,532,254 square feet (142,351.1 m2) of space.[20] The 660-foot (200 m) long pedestrian bridge linking the medical center to OHSU Hospital was constructed with 2.4 million pounds (1,100 long tons; 1,200 short tons) of steel and is supported by two towers, each 150 feet (46 m) tall.[10][11]


  1. ^ a b c d "VA Portland Health Care System - Inpatient and Emergency Care Division". U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs. November 25, 2020. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d "History Information for Portland VA Medical Center". Portland VA Medical Center. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  3. ^ a b Richeson, A. B. (January 1, 1929). "Portland Becoming Center of Medicine". The Oregonian. p. 4.
  4. ^ a b c Brenneman, Kristina (September 3, 2000). "Corporate Strategies: Making a stand on Pill Hill". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e "History of the VA Hospital". The Oregonian. December 14, 1987. p. B2.
  6. ^ a b O'Neill, Patrick (December 14, 1987). "New VA Hospital to open". The Oregonian. p. B1.
  7. ^ Hill, Jim (March 1, 1990). "Medical care at Veterans Hospital under examination". The Oregonian. p. B3.
  8. ^ Meehan, Brian T. (March 13, 1990). "Hatfield contends Veterans Center provides first-class medical care". The Oregonian. p. B1.
  9. ^ "Hoffman wins garage contract". Daily Journal of Commerce. May 2, 1990. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  10. ^ a b c "VA Skybridge". Projects. inici group. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  11. ^ a b "Officials to dedicate Marquam Hill pedestrian bridge". Daily Journal of Commerce. November 2, 1992. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  12. ^ Woodward, Steve (April 23, 1994). "Veterans Hospital to end nighttime emergency care". The Oregonian. p. D8.
  13. ^ a b Brock, Kathy (June 16, 1996). "VA hospital laying off 150 in cost-cutting move". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  14. ^ Moody, Robin J. (July 16, 2006). "Portland VA facility opens hearing disabilities center". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  15. ^ Moody, Robin J. (June 26, 2005). "Portland VA center sets medical pace". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  16. ^ "Services". Portland VA Medical Center. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  17. ^ "Portland VA Medical Center". American Hospital Directory. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  18. ^ "VA Building 100". Portland. Emporis Gmbh. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  19. ^ a b Kalkan, Erol; Krishna Banga; Hasan S. Ulusoy; Jon Peter B. Fletcher; William S. Leith; Shahneam Reza; Timothy Cheng. Advanced Earthquake Monitoring System for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Buildings—Instrumentation (PDF). U.S. Geological Survey. p. 101. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  20. ^ "Portland VA Medical Center achieves three Green Globes" (PDF). GreenLink. Green Globes. Retrieved 16 November 2013.

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