New Road Ahead Groundbreaking

OHS Breaks Ground on Biggest Expansion Project in its History

From left, Honorary Campaign Chair Dolorosa Margulis, OHS President and CEO Sharon Harmon, OHS Board Chair Dave Hansen and New Road Ahead Fundraising Chair Lynn Loacker.

OHS held a groundbreaking ceremony on June 16 to mark the beginning of construction of the New Road Ahead, the most ambitious expansion of programs and services in its 153-year history.

The New Road Ahead includes the construction of two new buildings next to OHS’s Ernest C. Swigert Animal Shelter. The facilities will house a Behavior and Rescue Center, Animal Crimes Forensic Center, and a Community Veterinary Hospital. The project is the culmination of more than seven years of planning, research and consulting with local and national partners to identify the areas of greatest need.

“The New Road Ahead addresses some of the most pressing issues facing pets and people in our community,” says Sharon Harmon, OHS President and CEO.  “We’ve made huge progress controlling pet overpopulation. Now, we are poised to confront suffering in all its insidious forms – from the heartbreak of surrendering a pet with a treatable medical condition to fighting animal cruelty and neglect.”

Behavior and Rescue Center
The Behavior and Rescue Center is dedicated to the behavioral rehabilitation of homeless animals to better prepare them for adoption and will also expand OHS’s capacity to provide care for animals who have been rescued from natural and man-made disasters.

Animal Crimes Forensic Center
The Animal Crimes Forensic Center at OHS will be the first of its kind on the West Coast. The state-of the-art facility is designed for the collection and analysis of evidence from suspected animal cruelty cases. This evidence will be used to support the prosecution of animal abusers and enhance OHS’s cruelty casework across Oregon.

Community Veterinary Hospital
Preserving the animal-human bond is at the heart of the New Road Ahead expansion. The Community Veterinary Hospital will be dedicated to offering accessible veterinary care to thousands of under-resourced clients and their pets. Services will be on a sliding scale to ensure pet owners can access affordable care to help keep animals safe and healthy in their own homes.

“The Community Veterinary Hospital will give local veterinarians a critical option to offer clients who are not be able to afford care for their pets,” says Dr. Stephen Kochis, OHS Chief Medical Officer. “These situations can sometimes lead to people giving up their pets, delaying care or opting for euthanasia. This is heartbreaking for pet owners as well as veterinarians and we are looking forward to filling this important need with the Community Veterinary Hospital.”

The new hospital will also expand on OHS’s thriving partnership with the Oregon State University Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine. In addition to their rotation at the Holman Medical Center, Oregon State veterinary students will be offered the opportunity to learn through hands-on experience at the Community Veterinary Hospital.  Students will learn about small animal primary care, gain experience and compassion working directly with the public and be taught how to recognize and report animal cruelty.

“The compassion and generosity of this community has helped OHS become a national leader in animal welfare,” says Harmon. “We are confident that donors will join as we begin this new chapter in creating a More Humane Society.”

New Road Ahead Project Quick Facts

  • 21,498 square feet – Size of the building housing the Community VeterinaryHospital and Animal Crimes Forensic Center.
  • 13,876 square feet – Size of the Behavior and Rescue Center.
  • 2,875 tons – Amount of rock, soil, asphalt and concrete removed from construction site. Formerly designated industrial use, the Oregon Humane Society is transforming this space into a tranquil landscape with bioswales, rain garden and a dog walking path that connects to our existing native woodland.
  • $36 million – Total fundraising goal for the New Road Ahead. To date, nearly $31 million has been raised.
  • 25 acres – Land allocated for the New Road Ahead project
  • 60 jobs – Approximate number of jobs that will be created when the New Road Ahead’s expanded programs and services open in late summer 2022.

New Road Ahead Key Partners

Construction/Project Manager: inici group

General Contractor: Lease Crutcher Lewis

Architect: Scott Edwards Architecture

Engineers: Humber Design Group, KPFF, PAE Consulting Engineers

Landscape Architecture/Planning: PLACE

ASPCA Support for the New Road Ahead

Longtime OHS partner, the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has provided $1.75 million in grant funding to support the New Road Ahead.

Trainers from OHS consulted with ASPCA experts during the planning for the New Road Ahead expansion, and OHS’s new Behavior and Rescue Center is modeled after the ASPCA’s Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in North Carolina, which was the subject of a documentary called “Second Chance Dogs.”

M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust Helps Fund the New Road Ahead

OHS has received a $500,000 grant from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust to help fund the New Road Ahead project. The M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust supports nonprofits in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington, through their work in the sectors of Arts & Culture, Education, Health, Human Services, and Scientific Research.