Yakima Valley Farm Workers opens Miramar Clinic May 10 in Kennewick

Kennewick’s newest medical and dental clinic opens May 10 near Vista Field.

The nonprofit Yakima Valley Farm Workers plans to debut Miramar Health Center, its $20 million, state-of-the-art medical center at 6351 W. Rio Grande Ave. after more than a year of construction.

The center will employ 70, including 15 physicians, dentists and pharmacists. Miramar will serve low-income patients and those both with and without insurance. It is expected to offer 32,000 appointments annually.

“It’s no secret there’s a shortage of primary care services nationwide,” said Carlos Olivares, chief executive officer of Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, in a news release announcing the opening date. “It always has been and always will be our mission to go where there is a need.”

The 29,000-square-foot clinic occupies a five-acre site near Lawrence Scott Park, Chuck E. Cheese restaurant and, importantly, Vista Field.

The project is not part of the Vista Field, the Port of Kennewick’s ambitious 103-acre redevelopment of a closed airfield into an urban village with walking trails, commercial and residential space.

However, the clinic sits at an important gateway and the project set off a heated conflict between some of the port’s commissioners and staff. The port, which sold the property more than a decade earlier, held a buyback clause and could have preempted the clinic from buying the site.

In the end the port waived the buyback clause. And while the conflict continues (See related story.), all three commissioners agree Miramar is exactly the neighbor they envisioned when they conceived of turning the field into an urban center.

“It’s a tremendous asset and a tremendous addition to our community,” said Commissioner Don Barnes, the port’s chairman. Barnes was the target of complaints after he raised questions about the buyback clause, although an independent judge later ruled he acted within his role as an elected official.

Commissioner Tom Moak, the board’s secretary, also drew complaints over the buyback clause fight. Miramar is exactly the type of project he wanted to see but, he said, he did not know what was envisioned when the property sale first surfaced on the commission’s agenda in 2019.

“That’s what I was fighting for in this whole issue,” he said.

Commissioner Skip Novakovich, the board’s vice president and author of the complaint against the other two, called it a “tremendous asset.”

Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic closed the $1.7 million deal with seller Jerry Ivy Jr. Trustee on April 11, 2019. Denver-based Neenan Archiconstruction was the designer and builder. Neenan’s designs were guided by the port’s Vista Field design standards.

The result is a building that respects the Vista Field look on the outside while offering state-of-the art touches on the inside. Designers said their biggest challenge was to “future-proof” the project against the changing standards of the health care industry.

It is divided between medical practices, administrative, office, dental, pharmacy and laboratory spaces, with room to expand in the future.

Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic said it brought its model to Kennewick to serve an estimated 39,000 low-income Tri-Citians not served by a community health center.

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