Roseburg council holds off vote on funding of study

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- The Roseburg City Council is waiting for more information before they decide to vote on giving $30,000 for a feasibility study for a medical education facility.

Kelly Morgan, CEO of Mercy Medical Center, made a presentation to the council about the study, which would look at the feasibility of building a private medical college in Douglas County.

Morgan gave some background information on the project, citing numbers from the state employment agency that showed the possibility of 5,500 new jobs that could be created in Douglas County.

Morgan pointed out some of the barriers in our area for recruiting workers in the medical field, saying that spouses of medical professionals don't want to come to this area due to the lack of employment.

The Regional Allied Health and Training Center would train students in career fields such as medical and clinical technicians, laboratory assistants and substance abuse and addiction counselors.

The study would look at what would be reasonable for courses, as well as things like student housing.

Morgan warned the council that giving the money to the study did not guarantee the final project would move forward.

The total cost for the study is $300,000, and Morgan told the council that one third of that had already been committed.

In light of the state of the economy and the unemployment rate in the county, Morgan said that, "We're going to have to branch into something else to be successful."

He said there are 12 different locations being looked at for the center, but none have been specifically targeted yet.

Morgan said that Mercy Medical Center, the Mercy Foundation and the partnership have already committed to $50,000.

City staff said that the money would have to come from the general fund, and councilors asked for more time to get specific information.

Morgan says the study has already been started, and says if the city doesn't vote to donate to the project, they would, "figure it out."

The council decided to put a vote on the agenda for the next council meeting.