Bonamici seeks federal dollars for expansion of Virginia Garcia clinic
Through a process known as Community Project Funding, U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon's 1st Congressional District is seeking more than $2 million to expand the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health clinic in Newberg. The influx of federal dollars could mark a crucial moment for the health care provider that has become a crucial resource to the Latinx community in Washington and Yamhill counties.
"Congresswoman Bonamici has submitted funding requests for important community projects in Northwest Oregon to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration," the legislator's website reads. "The reformed and transparent Community Project Funding process allows Congresswoman Bonamici to advocate for specific community projects that will help the people and communities of Northwest Oregon.
"Under guidelines issued by the House Appropriations Committee, each Representative may request funding for up to 10 projects in their community for fiscal year 2022, although only a small number may receive funding. Requests are limited to specific accounts determined by the Appropriations Committee. Only state and local governments and eligible nonprofit entities are eligible to receive funding."
Community Project Funding proposals are selected by individual members of Congress from the communities they serve, then submitted to the House Appropriations Committee for review and potential approval.
"On the Community Project Funding, we got 70 applications from throughout Northwest Oregon, which is pretty exciting," Bonamici said in a phone conversation May 26. "I was looking for projects that would help support job creation, help with economic recovery and provide good paying jobs to people who've faced historic barriers to employment or services in their community."
Consideration by the committee following Bonamici's submission is a competitive process, the legislator said. Bonamici saw the expansion as an opportunity to improve service for a rapidly growing community within Newberg, Yamhill County, and her district at large.
"The project proposals that I advanced included the Virginia Garcia Newberg expansion," Bonamici said. "I have followed the work of Virginia Garcia over the years and they've done such an important job of providing health care, dental care, primary care to the community. This expansion will have three new dental spaces, nine exam rooms and a large pharmacy. It will basically double their capacity to deliver care."
The clinic, one of many in the Virginia Garcia system, serves more than 2,400 individuals annually and provides primary medical care, dental care and pharmacy services from its Newberg location at 2251 E. Hancock St.
Several months of work behind closed doors in the committee should culminate in a final bill of community projects by the end of the summer, Bonamici anticipated. Whether the Virginia Garcia project ultimately is approved by the committee and included in the final bill remains to be seen, as there are hundreds of projects like it throughout the country competing for federal money.
Bonamici said she feels confident that it will be selected, though, and that her colleagues in Congress will recognize the importance of clinics like Virginia Garcia.
"I see this as a great use of funds because Virginia Garcia has proven itself as a necessity, especially during the pandemic," Bonamici said. "I will continue to advocate for this project as it moves through the process, and while we aren't sure what the timing is exactly, we know the committees will be carefully reviewing all of the proposed projects. It will be highly competitive."
For more information on the CPF funding process and other work being done by Bonamici, visit www.bonamici.house.gov.
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