Creative photos and essays from the San Juan Islands


A college AND a hospital

A college and a hospital

Someone would think I’m an intern with the Chamber of Commerce! My last post was a photo of our branch of Skagit Valley College, and now I feature our new hospital. Well, some call it a hospital, some a clinic. It’s name is the somewhat confusing Peace Island Medical Center, or it was confusing until I realized the group of hospitals and clinics is called the Peace Medical Group, and each apparently has some designation to differentiate it from another. For instance, the hospital at Florence, Oregon on the coast is called Peace Harbor Hospital. We’ve had the Inter-Island Medical Center for decades, and there’s no way we’re going to call this fine new facility a medical center, it’s a hospital with ten beds, an emergency room, a cancer care center, and a bunch of other goings ons.

It was, I’m told, finished on time and under budget and sits on property once owned by Leonard and Marie Boe just out of Friday Harbor on the Valley road. I took square dancing lessons from the humble, soft spoken Leonard many years ago, and I still think of Marie, who grew up on an island dairy farm, as the stalwart of the Agricultural Extension agent’s office on San Juan Island.

This “hospital” is knock-down gorgeous inside. When I toured it during their open-house I surmised it had dropped onto the island from outer space, for it sure didn’t look like our typical island edifice. Huge reception area with an equally huge fireplace. Art work everywhere, and the beautiful floors, stairs, and squared timber partitions are of fir milled from trees that had grown on the site.

Something else that is not of this island is the fussy, bureaucratic, very un-island check-in procedure. We were used to the friendly, simple system at the old clinic, and now that this operation is run by a huge, off island group of hospitals and clinics, it’s, well, we’re just not used to the style.

Perhaps I’ve lived here too long, but I recall when one didn’t have to wait in line at either the Post Office or the Department of Licensing at the court house. ‘Tain’t true these days, so I suppose having mainland bureaucracy at the hospital is to be expected. I just regret the passing of yet another reason why I moved here to begin with.


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