Ore. Senate approves $200M in taxpayer money to OHSU

Sen. Rod Monroe, D-Portland, speaks on the Senate floor on Thursday, March 6, 2014, at the state Capitol in Salem, Ore. The Oregon Legislature is pushing to adjourn as soon as Friday. (AP Photo/Chad Garland)
Sen. Rod Monroe, D-Portland, speaks on the Senate floor on Thursday, March 6, 2014, at the state Capitol in Salem, Ore. The Oregon Legislature is pushing to adjourn as soon as Friday. (AP Photo/Chad Garland)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The Oregon Senate Friday approved $200 million in state bond funding to the Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Research Institute.

The measure was part of Senate Bill 5703, which passed by a 28-2 margin, and including a series of bond construction projects throughout the state. It was in response to a challenge in September from Nike co-founder Phil Knight. Knight promised that if OHSU raised $500 million in donations for cancer research in a two-year period, he would match it.

Knight’s pledge is all-or nothing. It is contingent on OHSU reaching the $500 million mark. The $200 million would count towards reaching that match.

The bond money will be earmarked towards construction of research labs and clinical space on OHSU’s South Waterfront campus.

“The Knight Institute would be able to attract the leading researchers in the world to Oregon,” Senate President Peter Courtney (D- Salem) said in a statement today. “Their research would have the potential to save millions of lives,” said Courtney. “Oregon can be the place where we end cancer as we know it.”

As part of the requirements of the measure, OHSU will not receive the state money until it has the other $800 million in hand.

According to The Associated Press, the bill did not include a requirement that OHSU treat all patients on the Oregon Health Plan. The AP’s Jonathan Cooper reported that had been a point of controversy among health insurance carriers.

The bill goes to the House on Monday.

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