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Cedar Mill News
Volume 4, Issue 10


October 2006

Featured Business

Cedar Mill Veterinary Clinic

By Virginia Bruce

When the new building is completed, it will be a lucky dog that gets boarded at Cedar Mill Veterinary. They’ll have a specially constructed pond to play in, an exercise lawn with a drainage substructure designed to keep their paws dry, and hydronically heated floors indoors to play on.

The boarding area is just one of the features that will put this clinic in the forefront of modern veterinary design. Some features are for pet owners, but most of the thought has gone into making it an efficient treatment facility that will minimize the stress on the animals and make it easier to provide the best veterinary care. The surgery is equipped with human-quality monitoring equipment and lights.

A blue heron tops the clock tower of the new building.

“Our goal was to create an efficient layout using the existing footprint, and to stage the construction so we wouldn’t have to go out of business!” says Rick White, DVM. Architect Jim Grady and Dr. White visited a lot of other clinics in the region and beyond. “We feel like we’ve achieved excellent flow in the new facility,” White says. “And it’s as ‘green’ as we could make it, with efficient energy use and non-toxic materials.”

Patients and owners entering the clinic

“This property is right in the middle of the Town Center, so I thought it would be cool to have a clock tower,” Dr. White explains. The tower is crowned with a weathervane in the shape of a blue heron. The reception area below, which isn’t quite finished yet, will be much roomier and more comfortable for patients and their owners.

This is the third remodel of the building that Dr. White originally bought in 1986. But it’s a lot more than just a remodel, really a whole new building was constructed around the core of the old facility. The old Cedar Mill Garage next door was torn down to make room for the new facility. “We had ‘brown field’ problems with that site, there were some old gas tanks and a lot of soil contamination from the old business,” White says. “Of course it took longer than anticipated.”

Dr. White has added a second Veterinarian to the staff, Dr. Angie Untisz, and plans to add at least one more part-time doctor when the facility is completed. “The old model of the one-man vet clinic is gone,” he explains. “With the rising cost of land and overhead expenses, it doesn’t make sense to operate with less than three doctors. You still have to have the same infrastructure whether you have one doctor or three. And the majority of vet-school graduates now are women, and many of them prefer to work part time. Overall it’s a really good thing, because you can do better medicine when it’s collaborative.”

Dr. White discusses a patient in the temporary exam room

In fact, the veterinary profession itself is changing, at least in the Portland area. “The Portland Veterinary Medical Association and the Washington County VMA are encouraging a lot of collaboration and interaction, so the level of care is much higher,“ says Dr. White. “They provide a lot of opportunities for continuing education. We often get on the phone and talk to each other about difficult cases. It used to be a highly competitive situation, but that’s gone now and things are a lot better.”

Dr. White can’t remember when he didn’t want to be a vet. He grew up in rural Maryland, and went to college at Colorado State in Ft. Collins, where he met and married his wife. She got a Ph.D. and was offered a chance to do her post-doc study at the Oregon Primate Center, so the family moved to the area in 1979. At the time, Dr. White was doing equine surgery, but by 1986 he had decided he wanted to be a “pet vet” and during that eventful year his wife achieved a tenured position at Reed College, their second son was born, and he purchased the Cedar Mill Veterinary Clinic. The family lives in Cedar Mill. One son is working in the medical field and the other is a geological engineer.

The clinic treats only dogs and cats. It’s open Monday-Friday 8 am – 6 pm, and Saturday 8 am – 2 pm. They are accepting new patients. Their phone number is 503-644-3101 and their website is



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Published monthly by Cedar Mill Advertising & Design
Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
12110 NW West Rd
Portland, OR 97229