July 16, 2019 — Thanks to the generous support of Anne Naito-Campbell, Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM) was among nine local nonprofits to receive gifts from the Naito family in May. The gift, valued at $50,000, benefits both the students and patients who now utilize the college’s Old Town clinic and classrooms. To celebrate, OCOM invites the public on the evening of August 7 from 6:00 PM-7:00 PM to an on-campus dedication ceremony to honor of the Naito family.
The relationship between the Naito family and OCOM begins with the building that once housed the family’s Import Plaza and now is home to the college’s campus and teaching clinic. Originally developed in 1911, the property was known as the Globe Hotel and had 500 open air cots, barely separated from each other and covered by chicken wire, where it only cost 50 cents a night to get a “room.” At that time, Portland’s Old Town was home to Japanese, Chinese, and other immigrant communities. Evidence of these historical roots were uncovered during the 2012 redevelopment of the site, when crews dug up several artifacts, including a Japanese herbal medicine bottle from the late 1800’s.
In the 1960’s, when the Naitos bought the then-vacant Globe building, the intent to start a retail import shop in the middle of what was then known as Skid Row. The flagship store carried a mixture of eye-catching and kitschy products from across Asia including lamps, wicker and wood furniture, porcelain figurines, glass bowls and vases, folding screens, and a wide variety of Buddha sculptures. Despite predictions to the contrary, Import Plaza was an instant success, and it demonstrated the Naito family’s commitment to developing the beauty and resilience of Old Town. It also generated the cash flow and spawned a retail chain that allowed the Naito family to acquire extensive real estate holdings.
At its peak, Import Plaza consisted of eight stores across Oregon. Closing in 2000 due to changes in retail trends, the flagship location lay dormant, waiting to become a part of a new vision for the Old Town neighborhood. OCOM selected the location as the perfect home for its new campus. In collaboration with the Naito’s, the redevelopment project was funded through a combination of tax credits, PDC funds; and conventional financing, and the campus has since been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The $15.2 million dollar rehab of the building took one year, included gutting all four existing floors for seismic retrofit purposes, and earned the structure LEED Gold certification. The project team included Beam Development, Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects, and LCG Pence Construction, LLC. On the roof is the old Import Plaza sign, restored and now emblazoned with the letters, OCOM. Culminating with the ribbon cutting in 2012, Anne Naito-Campbell and the Naito family have supported OCOM’s role in revitalizing the Old Town neighborhood. The relocation nearly doubled the college’s square footage, allowing OCOM to educate students and offer acupuncture, herbal, and wellness services to the public.
Import Plaza building prior to the 2011-2012 OCOM campus redevelopment
OCOM campus ribbon-cutting ceremony, 2012
Founded in 1983, OCOM is a single-purpose professional graduate school that offers first professional and postgraduate degree programs in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. OCOM’s mission is to transform health care by educating highly skilled and compassionate practitioners, providing exemplary patient care, and engaging in innovative research within a community of service and healing. Our 1,500 graduates practice, teach, and research Chinese medicine in 50 states and across the globe, and have provided an estimated 10 million treatments over the past 36 years. Additional information about the college is available on our website, ocom.edu