BUILDING SALEM: Demolition comes for shuttered Willamette Surgery Center

Editor’s note: Building Salem is a twice-monthly feature from Salem Reporter intended to highlight building and construction projects around the city. Is there a building going up (or down) that you’re curious about? Let us know by emailing [email protected].

Name: Former Willamette Surgery Center

Project type: Medical center demolition

Location: 1445 & 1449 State St.

Estimated completion: February 2024

Description: Salem Health is demolishing the site of a freestanding surgery center that closed its doors last fall.

Willamette Surgery Center operated for over 20 years at the site on State Street, according to state corporation records. It was originally owned by a group of physicians.

“The physicians who founded Willamette Surgery Center remodeled a former college sorority house to provide patients and their families a warm, safe environment for their health care,” the practice’s website said. The center performed outpatient surgical procedures like joint replacements and repairing broken bones.

Salem Health bought the property in 2018 for $5.75 million, according to Marion County property records. The health care organization also bought the majority of the business, and operated it as a joint partnership after the purchase, said Lisa Wood, Salem Health spokeswoman.

At the time of the purchase, Dr. Stephen Yao, an orthopedic surgeon, was the president of the practice, state records showed.

The surgery center closed in November 2023. Wood said Salem Health is demolishing it because the building had “reached its end of life as a surgery center.”

Salem Health does not yet have plans for the site.

The former Willamette Surgery Center building on State Street is being demolished in February 2024. Salem Health owns the property. (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

January 2024 building statistics from the city of Salem

Multifamily building permits issued: 0

Total multifamily building permits issued since July 2023: 15 permits for 185 units

New dwelling permits issued: 35

Total new dwelling permits issued since July 2023: 232

New commercial and industrial permits issued: 6

Total new commercial and industrial permits permits issued since July 2023: 29

Monthly building permit data from the city of Salem for January 2024.

Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

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Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.