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Home arrow COMMUNITY arrow Health care boost


Health care boost

Dr. Eli Mayes, left, and Tim Gray of Patterson Dental Company of Boise, discuss a supply of dental instruments and the state-of-the-art NomadPro  a handheld X-ray machine that will be used at the dental clinic in Elgin. (Trish Yerges/For WesCom News Service)
Dr. Eli Mayes, left, and Tim Gray of Patterson Dental Company of Boise, discuss a supply of dental instruments and the state-of-the-art NomadPro a handheld X-ray machine that will be used at the dental clinic in Elgin. (Trish Yerges/For WesCom News Service)

Full-spectrum dental clinic up and running in Elgin 

ELGIN — A new dental clinic, operated by Dr. Eli Mayes, opened its doors  July 1 at the Elgin Health Clinic, 1400 Division St.

The clinic is the collaborative effort of the Elgin Health District’s board of directors and Mayes. The clinic was funded by a number of grant awards, including Meyer Memorial Foundation ($37,184), Collins Foundation ($25,000) and the Wildhorse Foundation ($7,500).

Grants also were awarded through the Oregon Community Foundation by the following donors: Robert W. Chandler II Fund ($5,000), the Northeast Oregon Heritage Fund ($800) and the Glen and Jean McKenzie Fund ($10,200).

Mayes was pleased to receive funds from Glen McKenzie formerly of Summerville.

“When I was younger, I worked for Glen, buckin’ bales for $5 an hour,” he said. “Now, Glen is helping me start my business.”

Mayes has been working with the Elgin Health District board for the past year and a half to create a dental clinic for the community of Elgin, which meets the state and federal definitions of a “health professional shortage area.”

“We haven’t had a dentist in Elgin for about 25 years, possibly more,” said Mary Rose Nichols, chair of the Elgin Health District board of directors.

Consequently, a dental clinic located in the heart of town now brings badly needed services conveniently close to patients who formerly found it challenging to travel outside the community to see a dentist. Mayes praised the Elgin Health District for their work, bringing this clinic to fruition.

“The Elgin Health District board was a tremendous help getting this together,” Mayes said. “The board represents the population of Elgin. They put their time and effort into this project on behalf of the people. We hope the Elgin residents will make appointments and help make this happen.”

Also assisting in the project was Tim Gray, of the Patterson Dental Company in Boise, Idaho, who advised the health board and Mayes on the operatory layout for the clinic. The company supplied the dental chairs, a wide variety of dental instruments and advised on the necessary plumbing. The clinic was completed at the end of June.

Now, Mayes is prepared to offer full- spectrum dentistry services, including extractions, oral surgeries, X-rays, root canals, periodontal surgeries and care, dentures, crown and bridge work, general fillings and sealants for 6- and 12-year-old children. Patients may also receive dental cleaning services at the clinic by hygienist Kristi Williamson.

“Kristi Williamson and I are really looking forward to serving the dental needs of Elgin’s residents,” Mayes said. 

In the future, as the clinic grows and patient appointments increase, Mayes said he will extend the clinic’s service hours to also include Tuesdays and perhaps Monday or Tuesday evenings as the need dictates.

Mayes will not be leaving his partnership in the dental practice with Dr. Pat Nearing in La Grande, and he will continue to see patients in La Grande on Wednesdays through Fridays weekly.

“I will be working in both La Grande and Elgin with no plans on leaving either one,” Mayes said.

The dentist’s contract with the Elgin Health District extends for five years with an option to renew at the end of that period. 


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