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The New Oregon Elks Children’s Eye Clinic Building


          The relationship between the Elks and Oregon Health & Sciences University’s Department of Ophthalmology began in 1949, when Dr. Kenneth Swan was looking for the cause of Retinopathy of Prematurity or ROP, which is blindness in premature babies.  At the same time, a member of the Oregon City Elks, Judge Robert Mulvey, became the father of twin premature boys who were blind.  A connection was established between the Elks and Dr. Swan, who believed ROP was caused by excessive oxygen being given to these premature babies, causing the blood vessels in the eyes to develop in a haphazard manner.  Dr. Swan needed a $2,000.00 oximeter to prove his theory and the Elks provided the funds, and Dr. Swan was able to confirm that the excessive oxygen did indeed cause ROP.




At that time, the Elks were looking for a state major project and it was decided that a relationship with the Department of Ophthalmology would be a good fit.  Thus, the Elks Children’s Eye Clinic was born.  The Elks made a significant decision at that time, instead of just treating individual children, we would create a facility that would not only provide treatment, but also do research, and training for doctors to become ophthalmologists.  This relationship grew and developed through the years. 



It is important for all Elks to realize that OHSU is contributing $15,000,000.00 to the operating cost of our clinic so the building can be named for the Oregon Elks.  Why is OHSU doing this?  I believe it is their way of thanking the Elks of Oregon for the over $40,000,000.00 that have been donated since 1949, to make this Department of Ophthalmology the world leader that it has become.  OHSU recognizes the role that the Oregon Elks have played in making OHSU such a successful institution. The $15,000,000.00 on top of the previously donated $40,000,000.00 will make the Oregon Elks the largest organizational donor to the entire Oregon Health and Sciences University System.



In 1963, the Elks decided to create a foundation to provide stable funding for our eye clinic and the Elks Youth Eye Service or EYES, was created.  EYES is modeled after the Elks National Foundation, where monies donated are never spent, but are invested, and only what is generated by those investments is spent.  Since its inception in 1963, EYES has received just over $3.3 million in donatfundini rm <8 2016

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