Groundbreaking Planned Parenthood facility hopes to contribute as a positive change for Glenwood

On a beautiful spring day in late April, Cynthia Pappas, CEO and President of Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon, expresses her excitement and eagerness for their new state of the art women’s health center to be fully implemented in the city of Glenwood.

As they were working on the site, an older, long term resident approached Pappas along with her development director and communications director, to invite them to a “ladies brunch” at her home in the neighborhood as a welcome into the community. People in the community wanted to know about the services Planned Parenthood had to offer as well as volunteer opportunities.

Welcoming the new facility, residents wanted to know what the new building might mean for the future of Glenwood and their community. An informational event was held at the local Roaring Rapids Pizza Company in Glenwood open to the entire neighborhood before the development process began. Having a large turnout, the community showed that they were accepting to the idea of upgrading the neighborhood, says Pappas. The encounters among residents show how being a welcoming community is what Glenwood takes pride in.

Steve S., 60, has worked at Central Valley Cycle for the last 14 years, located right across the street from the new development. “I think it’s good, they need to doze everything and start over. I think it’s just a start of what’s to come down here. They’ve got to do something with Glenwood,” said Steve.

The development of the modernized new building of Planned Parenthood serves as a symbol of positive changes to come for the future of Glenwood. Contributing to one of the first projects of the development process taken on by the city of Springfield, the new Planned Parenthood regional health and education center is currently in construction on a 1.4-acre lot along Franklin Boulevard.

“We’ve this been in community for 45 years and we wanted to reassure that we had a space that would allow us to be here for the next 45 years,” said Pappas.

The impact of the new facility in Glenwood hopes, “Our new Regional Health and Education Center will help create a community of healthy young people, healthy parents, and healthy families,” according to the Planned Parenthood pamphlet “Introducing Our New Regional Health and Education Center!” The new facility will cause unavoidable change to the community atmosphere, local businesses, as well as raise issues of opposition. The question of the future of the community of Glenwood possibly changing their close-knit community arrises concern. Although many long-term residents of Glenwood are showing little opposition to the facility, their hope is to keep their residential neighborhoods and homes unharmed in the process.

Resident Ruby Kalamas, 25, said she is aware developers are trying to “gentrify” Glenwood. Her fear is that the change of how it was in the old days of big lots and properties will be gone because of development; starting with the most current, Planned Parenthood.

“They used to not like this area, nobody wanted it. Now, everybody’s fighting over it,” said Kalamas. Her devotion to Glenwood is physically shown through her tattoo on the top of her right shoulder that says “East Glenwood” which she says is better than the west, which only has the dump.

Living in an area that is inevitable for change, the thought of outsiders moving in on their land causes uneasiness. Long term resident Serahn Morton, 40, has lived in Glenwood for almost 30 years and believes that change is good but that many residents are still skeptical of outsiders coming into their community so you can never be too sure if they are going to be “friend or foe.”

When development plans were decided, Pappas and her development team chose to knock on every businesses door up and down the strip of Franklin boulevard in Glenwood to introduce themselves to local business owners letting them know of the plans for building. Pappas thought it was important to ensure the unity of the community to continue to stay strong and embrace the services Planned Parenthood offers.

Getting ready to retire from the cycling shop, Steve S. supports the development. Not exactly knowing what happens on the outside of the cement brick walls of his shop, he hasn’t noticed too much opposition besides the day they broke ground on the facility back in September 2011.

“Having that nice new building right there it’s going to look good, it’s going to dress everybody up. I don’t care what they do in there,” said Steve. Describing Glenwood as a “sore on the back” in the middle of the cities of Eugene and Springfield. For a business owners point of view, it serves as a preview for what the future holds in the area for business owners hoping to get more traffic in the area.

Resident Mark Veilleux, 42, has lived in Glenwood all of his life and hopes that the development will help Glenwood expand and help to continue to build on everything else surrounding Planned Parenthood. Hoping to take away from the chaos in the area, he believes the development is a positive step into blending in more with Eugene and Springfield rather than being just a “stepping stone in between,” said Veilleux.

”It’s going be all in one issue anyway because everything is going to evolve around it so it’s gonna be there no matter what,” said Veilleux. Regardless of his personal views on the services Planned Parenthood offers, it is already in the course of development and will contribute to more development plans for the future of Glenwood.

Even though the new building will spruce up the west end of Glenwood, it has been met with some opposition. When construction began on the groundbreaking day in September 2011, members of conservative church groups from Portland made their way in protest as well as a small group of grade school children from a religious school outside the area. Followed by a small prayer vigil a few weeks following groundbreaking day, Pappas said that those were the only incidences they received although she suspects there might be more on opening day.

Some residents such as Tony Adams, 54, possess strong beliefs against the services and practices behind the facility. Not having faith in the future of Glenwood’s community as a whole, Adams thinks the facility brings a negative and suggestive connotation to the youth in the community for promiscuous behavior.

Hoping to veer away from the stereotypes and misconceptions around Planned Parenthood, Pappas’ goal is to help others to embrace the benefits the facility has to offer to 50 percent more clients.

“I hope people see past the state of the art new facility that we are building and that we are a normalized part of women’s health care,” said Pappas. The ultimate goal is the hostility surrounding women’s health care becomes a thing of history.

Resident Wayde Ley, 47, has lived in Glenwood for six years and recently just moved to Eugene and is amazed at how much Glenwood has cleaned up. Being against chemical contraception, he believes the facility will ultimately serve its purpose. Contrasting a modern facility among the run down and more dated buildings he thinks will cause change inevitably.

Currently 50 percent complete, Planned Parenthood will open its doors by the Summer of 2012. Serving 26,558 clients in 2010, the facility will be able to accommodate 50 more more clients replacing the two smaller centers located in Eugene and Springfield, according to the introductory Planned Parenthood pamphlet about the Glenwood facility.


Construction site



Lease sign in front of Eugene Planned Parenthood for September 2012.

SIDEBAR 1: How Planned Parenthood contributes to a healthier green environment in Glenwood

-LEED Silver Certification or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is healthier for environment, staff and clients

-Using materials from companies and products that use recycled content, manufactured locally, or have verified “green” features

-Chilled beam heating and cooling systems

-Energy-efficient appliances and window coverings

-Reduces need for electrical lighting

-Rainwater tanks and absorbent paving for parking lot allows direct entrance of rainwater runoff to soil

-Geothermal (internal heat of the earth) heat pump system with wells nearby

-Attentive selection of types of plants and irrigation design hope to reduce irrigation water use by 50%

-On site storm water treatment using bioswale system

-Compared to national standards by LEED, building will be up to 30.5% more energy efficient from its mechanical and electrical systems.

-Low flow water fixtures and rainwater gathering hope to reduce water consumption by at least 40% compared to national standards

-Eco-roof with a planting system to reduce storm water draining

-Solar panels and use of natural lighting such as skylight contribute to production of electric current to make light

-Energy-efficient lighting and daylight sensors with automatic dimmers to utilize electricity

-Recycling rather than landfill debris

-Usefulness of wood sources used for most of project



This graph of statistics show Planned Parenthood of Columbia Willamette as well as the local Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon’s statistics of the services utilized by patients in the area. The graph below represents the age of the clients Planned Parenthood serves each year. Both graphs are based on the most current statistics and information gathered from 2010.



About Kelsey Rzepecki

20-something on that 8-5 by day, music blogger and show-goer by night.
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