By Lee Perlman
For The Hollywood Star News, February, 2010
Another controversial project, a headquarters for Planned Parenthood of the Columbia-Willamette region, is nearing completion on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at Beech Street. According to president and CEO David Greenburg, the three-story, 42,000-square-foot building will open for business on February 15. It will include meeting facilities, one seating 200 people, that will be available for use by local community groups as scheduling permits. At ground floor level it will have one 2,500 square foot retail space and four ranging in size from 800 to 1,000 square feet each; retail tenants have not yet been signed, and businesses interested in locating there can inquire at ppcw.org.
A Planned Parenthood clinic currently located on Northeast Fremont Street at 15th Avenue will move into and occupy about 1,500 square feet of the new building. It provides classes, information, health care and treatment related to contraception and sexually-transmitted diseases. It also performs about 17 abortions a month.
This aspect of Planned Parenthood’s services has made it the target of anti-abortion activists, who objected to the Portland Development Commission’s decision to sell the long-vacant property to the non-profit and have regularly picketed the site. Because of their activities, a Grand Opening celebration earlier in the month will not be advertised and will be by invitation only. The non-profit instituted a Pledge a Demonstrator program in which donors pledge a given amount for each picketer who shows up on a given day; Greenburg says it has brought considerable funding to the cause. He notes the project will be completed on time, under budget, and will have exceeded the target for women and minority participation in the construction work force.