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OHSU Asks Oregon Lawmakers For Major Cancer Research Funding

File photo OHSU Hospital at Oregon Health
M.O. Stevens
File photo OHSU Hospital at Oregon Health

Officials at Oregon's largest medical center want state lawmakers to help fund a massive expansion of their cancer research facility.

Oregon Health and Science University says it needs the money so that it can meet a huge matching challenge offered by Nike chairman Phil Knight.

Everyone agrees it's a big ask: OHSU wants the state to pitch in $200 million to help land Knight's $500 million offer. Knight told the school he'd give the cash only if it raised another $500 million on its own.

The state cash would go towards research facilities where nearly 400 doctors and support staff would work on better cancer treatment and detection.

OHSU President Joe Robertson told lawmakers that the investment would pay more than one kind of dividend.

"First and foremost I would remind us all that this is about curing cancer," he said. "But we are fortunate that this does have a tremendous economic impact and these are dollars that would be tremendously well leveraged."

But the request has lots of competition at the capitol. Other universities are also asking for money to fund their projects, though none has nearly the same price tag as the OHSU request.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman covers the Oregon state capitol for JPR as part of the Northwest News Network, a group of 12 Northwest public radio organizations which collaborate on regional news coverage. Chris graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He began his career producing arts features for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana and has been a reporter/announcer for NPR station WNIJ in DeKalb, Illinois. Chris has also reported from overseas, filing stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda.
Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.